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Collection 2

July 1(Tue.) - September 15(Mon., Holiday), 2008

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Ryuji Miyamoto
Born in Tokyo in 1947, Ryuji Miyamoto first picked up a camera while studying at Tama Art University. After graduation, while working as an editor at an architecture magazine, he photographed "ruins" that briefly emerged in the city, and in1986, staged an exhibition called "Architectural Apocalypse." His Kowloon Walled City series, depicting a slum in Hong Kong, was highly, acclaimed and in 1989, he received the Kimura Ihei Award.
In 1983, Miyamoto started photographing Nakano Prison with "a sense that I had to shoot [the place] before it completely disappeared." A work of modern architecture designed by Kenji Goto, the prison was known as a facility for detaining thought criminals before the war. The series was taken during bubble economy at a time when a wave of development swept through Tokyo. Along with Nakano Prison, Miyamoto captures images of urban architecture that was on the verge of disappearing in the wake of the new economic logic including once bustling amusement facilities such as movie theatres and Negishi Racetrack.
Next, Miyamoto trained his lens on the buildings of Berlin, with its prominent traces of contemporary history. The Grosses Schauspielhaus, Berlin series was shot in East Berlin before the fall of the Wall. The theater, designed by the German Expressionist architect Hans Poelzig, was famous for its magnificent interior, which recalled a limestone cave. In Miyamoto's work, the building cuts a rather pathetic figure with its steel frame exposed.
The Japanese Embassy Bunker series was shot after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The former Japanese embassy, a Nazi-style building from the 1930s, was destroyed in an air-raid, and the basement was apparently flooded by some homeless people who had come to live there after the war. With its taut surfaces, Miyamoto's impressive work calls up various memories contained within the building.
Neues Museum and Bodemuseum came about after Miyamoto was commissioned to photograph the buildings as part of the Museum Island renovation project. The artist was particularly stunned by the Neues Musum, which had been left in its original bombed-out state. Though often noted for its development projects, Berlin also retains fresh scars from the past.
Miyamoto's recent work Palast portrays the Palast der Republik as it was in the process of being dismantled. The building, which comprised amusement facilities and assembly halls, was a popular destination in the former East Berlin. This series of photographs depicting the rapidly developing city from inside its buildings leaves a powerful impression. The emerging city of Berlin, rising faintly through the dirty glass of a Palast, is a striking contrast to the socialist "palace" that has been fated to disappear.

Miyako Ishiuchi
Born in Gumma Prefecture in 1947, Miyako Ishiuchi began her career as a photographer with Yokosuka Story (1977), a series she took in the town of Yokosuka, where she spent her childhood. Receiving the Kimura Ihei Award in 1979 and showing her work in the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005, Ishiuchi has received high acclaim both inside and outside of Japan. In this exhibition, we present three of Ishiuchi's series: Interior series, 1906-to the skin, and Scar.
"Goraku-So", part of the Interior series, was a luxury apartment building erected in prewar Yokohama. With the floors of the floors of the now abandoned units littered with rubble, time seems to stand still without revealing the former appearance of the apartments. The coat of paint on the door has peeled off, and the stains and cracks that remain recall the layers of age on a person's skin.
Having concentrated mainly on landscape photography, Ishiuchi began to shoot the human body in the late 80s. After showing 1・9・4・7, a series of closeups of the hands and feet of women who were born in the same year as the artist, Ishiuchi created 1906 - to the skin, a series which depicts the body of butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno. But rather than capturing Ohno as he danced, she trained her camera on the spots and wrinkles that were etched into his skin. At the time, Ohno had amassed close to 90 years as a "professional body." The skin hanging off his body resembles a rock face or tree bark that has been exposed to the elements for an extended period of time.
In the mid-90s, Ishiuchi focused primarily on the Scar series, depicting a variety of scars caused by illnesses, injuries, accidents, and surgery. The scars, presented in an anonymous manner, not only reveal the length of time the person has lived, but are stamped with the time that we have lived and the marks that we might bear or have born.
Whethered and peeling walls, rubble-strewn floors, skin imprinted with wrinkles, spots, and scars - in these things, we find loose connections between accumulations, of the pats and traces of memory. With Ishiuchi's gaze captured in the camera and expanded on developing paper, the ruins that one normally doesn't have an opportunity to see and the variety of "wrinkles," "spots," and "scars" that quietly exist beneath our clothes begin to quietly tell new stories.

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