Photographs I saw in 80’s in NY’
– From the Kurenboh Collection –
2010 September 29th – November 26th
In 1979, the photography-obsessed young man was seventeen and in New York. When he arrived in the city, he immediately began to live a life with an ambitious mind. The city smelled of a mixture of garbage, perfume and pot, which accompanied the city’s soundscape of jazz. Artists gathered at cafes in Soho. Behind the area was the Bowery, where homeless people used to hang out on the streets.
He studied under photographer Leo Rubinfien. The young man’s photographic expression was Western Romanticism. He might have acquired this expression from watching American movies, which he had watched since his childhood; or he might have inherently possessed the inner sense to perceive that type of expression. It could have also derived from the cultural climate of NYC; or he might have picked it up through Rubinfien. Whatever it may have been, the young man danced in what could be described as the harmless, gentle, and pleasant winds of NYC. The clicking sound of his camera was jaunty. Through his eyes, seeing the MOMA team led by John Szarkowski was like looking at a flamboyant group of ballroom dancers that he admired.
One day, the young man gave thought to the position on which he stood. He also thought about the Buddha. Amida Buddha appeared in his dreams as well, the Buddha that he used to see as a boy in his grandfather’s main temple after helping him work in his photographic darkroom. The young man then became a monk and moved to LA. He embraced the bliss of his encounter with the Buddha, while also feeling the stark differences between his new life and the life of amusement he led in NYC. His photos then became bleak. Ten years after he moved to America, he became homesick and returned to Japan with a psychological illness.
His parents awaited him in Japan. During the period while he recuperated from his illness, he looked back to his past, the past that gave him two different feelings of bliss. Today, those two feelings have merged into one, and the young man seems to have finally grown up.
This exhibition is a meditation on the works my eyes saw during that period.
Akiyoshi Taniguchi, Kurenboh
William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Robert Adams,Diane Arbus, Stephen Shore, Larry Fink, Tod Papageorge, Leo Rubinfien, Louis Faurer, Henri Cartier Bresson, Bill Dane, Henry Wessel, Helen Levitt, Nicholas Nixon, Michael Spano, Jan Groover, Thomas Roma, Richard Misrach, Frank Gohlke,Frederick Sommer,Atget, Bellocq and myself (23photographers, 32pieces)