Presentation House Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of gelatin silver prints by Kohei Yoshiyuki. The series of images on display, collectively titled The Park, were taken at night in the vicinity of Tokyo from 1971 to 1979 and capture sexual encounters between straight and gay partners, and the voyeurs who stalked them. The ghostly overexposed look of The Park results from the infrared film and filtered flash that Yoshiyuki used to disguise his presence. Indeed, a striking aspect of the images is how the photographer captured the absorption of his subjects in their illicit activities without disturbing them.
Originally a commercial photographer, Yoshiyuki became fascinated by the prevalence of outdoor sex in Japan, and the voyeuristic onlookers it attracted, after stumbling onto one such scene while walking home from a shoot in the early 1970s. The first results of his forays into the bushes of Shinjuku, Yoyogi and Aoyama parks were published in the magazine Weekly Shincho in 1972 and several book versions of The Park series were published in the early 1980s, one of which will be included in the exhibition. Shot surreptitiously and blindly in the dark, these mysterious images are meditations on surveillance that implicate not only the photographer and his subjects, but also the gallery viewer who spys on the scenes. These photographs speak of the cultural anxieties provoked by surveillance which today has become so much a part of daily life.
Kohei Yoshiyuki was born in 1946 in Japan, where he currently lives and works. Recently, The Park has been shown internationally at the 2008 Berlin, Gwangju Biennales and in important exhibitions and publications such as Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870(San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Tate Modern, London) and Night Vision: Photography after Dark (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). His photography is represented in many important museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The prints in this exhibition are on loan from Yossi Milo Gallery, New York.