KYOTOGRAPHIE 2017

HAPPENINGText: Alex Hiroki Coles

MEMENTO MORI” was an exhibition of the works of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who is seen as one of the most important and distinguished photographers of the twentieth century. His works exerted significant aesthetic and social influence. Not only that beautiful composition and technique but also a highly stylized sexual work sometimes controversial.

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All Mapplethorpe images © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.

In this exhibition, he pushes the theme of natural beauty and physical beauty, bondage and destruction throughout his career from his formal classicalism such as body, still life, statue as a structure, to more provocative expression taken outright photographs of the subject. A somewhat ironic title “Memento Mori” reminds us of the momentary nature of the subject and the author’suntimely death.

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All Mapplethorpe images © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.

The venue for this exhibition was Kondaya Genbei Chikuin-no-Ma, which is a long established manufacturer of obi, going back over 280 years. While making full use of the designs of traditional town houses, the space design that set up contemporary structures was innovative. The works were displayed over several rooms, and were skillfully structured and directed to develop from quiet works to more provocative works as they went to the back of town houses.

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All Mapplethorpe images © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.

Overall KYOTOGRAPHIE was an interesting and enjoyable exhibition to visit, which was both engaging and appealing to viewers, showcasing a variety of different styles of photography, each having a different perspective and interpretation on the theme of love.

KYOTOGRAPHIE 2017
Date: April 15th – May 14th, 2017
Place: Kyoto City
Organizer: KYOTOGRAPHIE International Photography Festival
Co-organizers: Kyoto City, Kyoto Municipal Board of Education
http://www.kyotographie.jp

Text: Alex Hiroki Coles

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