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THINGSText: Valerie Douniaux

A new outlook on Japanese contemporary photography

After Nouvelle Garde, about Japanese contemporary artists, French art lover and collector Sophie Cavaliero and Le Lézard Noir Publisher now launch Revelations, a new French-English bilingual opus, dedicated to Japanese photographers. Le Lézard Noir (Black Lizzard, or Kurotage in Japanese) takes its name from an eponym mystery novel by Japanese author Edogawa Rampo and was founded in 2004 with the purpose to introduce in France major authors from the Japanese underground culture, contemporary art and avant-gardes.

© Takafumi Goto (Channel 67)

Presented in avant-première at the Rencontres d’Arles and officially released in September 2013, Révélations has been written by Sophie Cavaliero in collaboration with Japanese art and photo specialists Thierry Decoster, Valérie Douniaux and Michela Scotti. The book principally focuses on artists born after 1960, and particularly on the younger generations. It contains thirteen interviews of renowned photographers who mostly gained recognition during the twenty last years of the 20th century (such as Nobuyoshi Araki, Rinko Kawauchi, Asako Narahashi, Tomoko Sawada, Toshio Shibata…) and five thematic portfolios of pictures from about fifty young and emerging talents.

© Kazuyoshi Usui

Révélations gives a large predominance to images, but also attempts to offer some keys to the comprehension of Japanese photography and culture, with accessible but informative texts. The selected artists come from very various backgrounds, and explore a large array of techniques and subjects. The authors, without any pretension to exhaustivity, therefore hoped to give a large view of the Japanese contemporary photographic scene, and particularly to provide younger artists with a chance to make their work more largely known in Japan and overseas. Revelations is not merely meant to present yet another generation of photographers, but also to reveal current photographical trends, now active on the contemporary photography market and exhibited in museums and institutions all around the world.

© Yuki Aoyama Courtesy of Wada Garou Tokyo

Quite differently to most of the books that were previously released about Japanese photography, Revelations therefore does not bring a comprehensive historical introduction to the evolution of Japanese photography, but rather offers a lively immersion into contemporary creation, an encounter with the personalities that make Japanese photography, the artists of course, but also the gallerists, curators and other professionals, some of which are presented in the latter part of the book. The portfolios also show how the artists, through their work, draw a portrait of Japanese society and express common preoccupations, in spite of apparently fairly different styles and results. Revelations is really above all a human adventure, an encounter between European lovers of Japanese photography and talented artists that they admire and wished to further present.

Release: September 1st, 2013
Price: 35€
Publisher: Le Lézard Noir
Format: 23 x 23 cm, in colours, 316 pages
Language: Bilingual French / English
ISBN: 978-235348-0517

Text: Valerie Douniaux

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