PGI is pleased to present Los Caprichos –Instagraphy– 2017 the solo exhibition at the gallery for artist Kikuji Kawada.
Kikuji Kawada’s 60-year career as a photographer began with shooting gravure for ‘Shukan Shincho’ magazine in 1956. Since then, ambitious works like ‘Chizu (The Map) ,’ a metaphor-riddled recollection of Japan’s loss of the second World War, the apocalyptic documentary of bizarre weather conditions ‘Last Cosmology ’ and the series of urban phenomena ‘Last Things ’ have made him one of the most internationally acclaimed Japanese photographers of all time.
Photos from ‘Los Caprichos’ appeared in several photography publications beginning with ‘Camera Mainichi’ in 1972 and were published in part of the artist’s Catastrophe Series ‘Sekai Gekijo (The Globe Theater)’ alongside images from ‘The Last Cosmology’ and ‘Car Maniac.’ They were also exhibited at Photo Gallery International (now PGI) in 1986. Until now, however, ‘Los Caprichos’ has never been presented as a project in and of itself.
“Los Caprichos -Instagraphy- 2017” features a new edition of the original works created between the 1960s and early 1980s presented together with previously unreleased images and a sequel shot between 2016 and 2017.
Kawada was so inspired by Goya’s ‘Los Caprichos’ that he found himself roaming the streets to pay homage to the fanciful engravings. Employing a snapshot aesthetic, along with the occasional multiple exposure, he began to scour scenes from everyday life and shadowy urban sprawls for equally fantastical imagery. The result is a powerful yet dire commentary on everything from social unrest to the end of days. New archival pigment prints were produced from the original negatives for this exhibition.
One day a researcher known as the ‘platinum print alchemist’ said to me that he’d like to see the entire ‘Los Caprichos’ series in prints. It was then that I realized that it’d been 10 years since I had thrown that series together yet I never put together a proper set of prints.
Later I wrote the following for an 1986 exhibition by the same name:
“I stared at ‘Los Caprichos (The Caprices),’ ‘Los desastres de la guerra (The Disasters of War),’ ‘Los Proverbios (Proverbs),’ and other such works by Goya so obsessively that they were virtually etched into my mind itself. As such, for a long time everywhere I looked I found similar imagery here in the real world. It got to the point where I almost couldn’t tell the difference between the two, like I was having dream flashbacks all throughout the day.”
Scanning old work in various ways, something that always strikes me is how crisp old images look once they’ve been converted into data. Faces on my monitor appear in a new light, as if they’re floating in front of me. Light and shadow are broken down, giving off complex signals in the process, endlessly repeating a sort of photogenic loop. Shadows within color change the most, like glimmers of distant memories waiting to enlighten fresh eyes.
I find myself weaving together these irony-laden Instagraphs, never knowing when a wave of strange visual violence is going to hit me. Shadows, both the ones I can and cannot see, give form to hallucination.
14, NOV. 2017 Tokyo
English translation by Dan Szpara
Born in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan in 1933. Kawada co-founded the VIVO(1959-1961) photographic collective in 1959.
He was one of the fifteen artists selected for the “New Japanese Photography” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1974.
Selected Recent One-Person Exhibition: “ZENO – The Last Cosmology” (PGI 1996), “Car Maniac” (PGI 1998), “Eureka” (PGI 2001), “Kikuji Kawada: Theatrum Mundi” (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photograph, Tokyo 2003), “The Map 1960-1965” (PGI 2004), “Kikuji Kawada: Eureka/ Multigraph” (Shadai Gallery, Tokyo Polytechnic University 2005), “Invisible City” (PGI 2006), “ATLAS 1998-2006” (Epsite, Tokyo 2006), “Remote Past: Memoir 1951-1966” (PGI 2008), “World’s End” (PGI 2010), “Nikko – A Parable” (PGI 2011), “2011-phenomena” (PGI 2013), “The Last Cosmology” (Michael Hoppen Gallery, London 2014), ““The Last Cosmology” (L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, NY 2014), “Last Things” (PGI 2016), and numerous group exhibitions.
Collections: Museum of Modern Art New York, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Museum of Fine Art Boston, Tate Modern, SF Museum of Modern Art, The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
Exhibitions at PGI
|Shadow in the Shadow, 2019|
|Los Caprichos – Instagraphy – 2017, 2018|
|Last Things, 2016|
|2011 – phenomena, 2012|
|NIKKO – A Parable, 2011|
|World’s End 2008-2010, 2010|
|Remembrance of a Remote Past – A Memoir 1951-1966, 2008|
|Invisible City, 2006|
|The Map 1960 – 1965, 2004|
|CAR MANIAC, 1998|
|ZENO – The Last Cosmology, 1996|
|Los Caprichos 1970-1980, 1986|
|Nude Museum, 1984|