Saturday, July 14, 2007

Eikoh Hosoe

Eikoh Hosoe is my first Artist to talk about in my new revamped blog about art. As a random pick I was enchanted by the Kama-itachi #34. Which will be the main image I will talk about in his large body of work. When I saw it, there was a familiarity of a man-ray collage image I created in my first Color Photography class in college. I don't believe in the coincidences in the similarities of our prints or how I came upon him. There is a reason that Eikoh Hosoe is my first pick and that I'm so drawn and memorized by his work. It could be that he is an extraoridnary artist at photographing the flesh at such a raw eroticism and simplicity. It's been a journey trying to find out the meaning to his works and the truth about the artist. I hope that I am more accurate than I have found others to be. So, without further adieu here is Eikoh Hosoe.

Eikoh Hosoe is a Japanese photographer and filmmaker who emerged in the experimental arts movement of post- World War II Japan. Eikoh, was primarily educated in Tokyo, but was evacuated to Yonezawa during fire-bombing run in 1944-45.

Winning first prize for a Fuji Photo Contest in 1952 encouraged him to pursue photography seriously and to enroll at Tokyo College of Photography. A year later he joins the artist group "Deokrato".

In 1975 he takes a professorship at Tokyo College of Photography on the condition that the college establishes a gallery on campus and begins a collection of fine photographs. A trip to New York in 1987 with son, Kenji for an intense workshop in platinum printing, returns to Japan with a 20 by 24 inch hand-made camera.

Hosoe images are psychologically charged, exploring subjects of death, exotic obsession and irrationality. He has done artistic collaboration with writer Yukio Mishima and dancer Tatsumi Hijikata.

Kama-itachi #34

Kamaitachi, is a body of work produced in the 1960's. Its dramatic photos were a collaboration between dancer Tatsumi Hijikata and photographer Eikoh Hosoe. Tatsumi is a wandering ghost mirroring the stark landscape and confronting farmers and children.

The legend of the Kamaitachi, a weasel-sickle demon myth that haunted the Japanese country side of Hosoe's childhood. Kamaitachi living in the rice fields enters a village, charms the villagers, seduces ladies, and then lies in wait to steal children away with it in the end.

Hosoe revisited this myth because the dancer he used to portray the demon was from the same place he had been evacuated to as a child fleeing the cities during WW II, seeking sanctuary in the countryside. Here a connection is being made with the pangs of memory. With both their remembered childhood's they would be able to re-anact the past and bring back their unconscious memories.

Hosoe considers the project to be a 'subjective documentary' of both Hijikata as an innovator of Butoh dance and of Hosoe's early memories of his evacuation to rural Japan during World War II.

With Mishima as a model, Hosoe created a series of dark, erotic images centered on the male body, Ba-ra-ke or Ordeal by Roses.

His book Hoyo" (Embrace) once again focused on the dialogue between men and women
And that's Eikoh Hosoe undoubtedly the most important masters of photography since World War II. I wish I could go into depth about his film making , but as much has been revealed to me about Eikoh a lot still remains a mystery.

To see more prints on Embrace and Man and Woman check out Hosoe at DesignBoom:

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