The Buchmann Galerie is pleased to announce the exhibition of a selection of gelatine silver prints of the famous series Toshi-e (Towards the city) from Japanese photographer Yutaka Takanashi (b. 1935).
During the 60s, Yutaka Takanashi was a member of the ephemeral and yet significant photography magazine Provoke, which aim was to find a new visual grammar according to the changing reality of Japanese society in the post-war and the post-Japan-US Security Treaty era. The group was opposed to the narrative and documentary way that the establishment was presenting the new industrialized and urbanized Japan. The sumptuous photography book Toshi-e was published in this context in a very limited edition.
The photographer, according to Yutaka Takanashi, “can submit those images [his photography] as documents to be considered alongside language and ideology”. Consequently, Yutaka Takanashi favored fast-captured pictures taken with a mobile 35mm camera, sometimes from a car and preferably “are, bure, boke” (“grainy, blurred and out of focus”). Blurring the picture in order to blur the ideology and to let the atmosphere speak.
Human figures by Yutaka Takanashi are often to be seen in the side view, diving into the darkness or half-cut, which reinforces the impression of alienation. In Buffet Toyota (1965) for instance, the young man’s face is hidden in the shadow. The picture’s composition includes him into a frame, created by the window and the poster of a glamorous and westernized woman. The man doesn’t look at us, he seems detached from his changing environment.
In Tsunohasu-1 (1965) the frame’s motif is present as well. The car’s glass reflects a shop sign and doing so, seems to turn into a shop window exposing the kids. Yutaka Takanashi draws up the kaleidoscopic portrait of a Japanese youth, unconcerned and yet living life in the fast lane that, at the same period, appears in Japanese movies like Nagisa Oshima´s Cruel Story of Youth (Seishun Zankoku Monogatari). The only figure that appears in a frontal and stationary way is the reflected one in Hachiko Square (1965). Yutaka Takanashi, the “hunter of image” as he used to call himself while working on Toshi-e, manages here to shoot the invisible – the contemplation – in a new industrialized and consumer society.
Yutaka Takanashi recently had a solo show at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris and was shown in several group exhibitions such as Creating with Light - The Manipulated Photograph at the Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo, and Breaking news. Fukushima and the consequences at Kunst-Werke Berlin. His work is in the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo.