Mitsutoshi Hanaga: The documentation photograph of the Japanese avant-garde art and performance / 1964 -1973
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Mitsutoshi Hanaga:
The documentation photograph of the Japanese avant-garde art and performance (1964 – 1973)

Aoyama Meguro Gallery
(July 18 – August 22)

Sam Francis
Wolf Kahlen
Vlasta Cihakova Noshiro
Stelarc
Arata Isozaki
Genpei Akasegawa, One-Thousand-Yen-Incident & Trial
Hi-Red Center
Zero Jigen
Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver
Shinjuku protests, 1975
13th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe (1973)
Taj Mahal Travellers
Shuji Terayama
Kazuo Ohno (Ref: “Butoh: Body on the Edge of Crisis”)

Real people, real culture, not fabricated, as it happened. Sniffing solvent from bags.

The archive is negatives only. Prints were never made and this show is the first time they’ve ever been shown this way. Photographs were selected on the basis that they represent the youth and vitality of the day. But its a vulnerable youth and Larry Clarks ‘Kids’ was a reference point a way of framing a body of work that ran over a decade during a period of immense cultural diversity. Shuji Terayama and Hanaga were very close friends and he wanted Hanaga to shoot Terayama’s ‘death mask’ but Hanaga’s magazine refused.

A timely exhibition, it proves how genuine culture was and how influential it became not only for modern Japan but further afield as well. In the context of modern politics, young artists continued to band together protesting any sense of authority by simply ‘being’, refusing to take part in the witnessed circus they bore little relationship with. Essentially photographs of kids, some of who would go on to become important figures in art, architecture, literature and film, show how vital a counter culture it was and how fondly remembered it still is, with admiration and respect beyond measure — still powerful, with the potential to challenge the  status quo and the political reluctance to embrace the full freedom of self expression.

 

Originally published on August 21, 2015