Izima Kaoru, “Itaya Yuko wears Jogn Galliano“, 2003, C-Print, 180 x 150 cm, Auflage: 5
For the “Open Art“ Gallery Andreas Binder presents new works by the japanese photographer Izima Kaoru.
The high-end clothing, the immaculate makeup, the classically beautiful faces and bodies, and, most of all, the careful staging and choreography, all mark “Landscapes with a Corpse“ as true fashion photographs. Izima Kaoru`s elegant subjects never question the primacy of fashion, as Cindy sherman`s
grotesques or Wolgang Tillmans` slackers do. They merely ask: Why can´t a corpse be beautiful.
In Buddhist practice, it is remmended to meditate on death as a way of reducing attachement to life`s distractions. Although his subjects are hardly renunciants, Izima has suggested that by sumulating death, they might be helped to accept it. While this may or may not be true, it is certain that death is viewed differently in traditional Japanese culture than it is in the West. Of course, the death scenes in “Landscapes with a Corpse“ are fantasies. However, they draw on a long tradition of romantic themes, tragic endings and “beautiful deaths“ in Japanese art, literature, and theatre. In the real world, death - whether slow or sudden - is all too often ignominious. But Izimas subjeects have obviously left this world in style.
In “Landscapes with a corpse“ the dissolution of the subject is achieved through the use of multiple viewpoints, panoramic or aerial views give way to close – ups; the camera drops into a field of sunflowers to reveal a body among the stalks, or through the branches of a flowering cherry to find the woman huddled
against his trunks. But it is also possible to read each group of photographs in reverse. Drawing back from the corpse reveals a quotidien world of apartment buildings (in which, presumably, life goes on) utility poles and power lines, public parks and backyards, in which the corpse itself is barely noticeable.
Seen close-up, Izima´s corpses are startling, frozen at the moment of death, as fresh as Mapplethorpe`s cut flowers. Certainly, both may appeal to fantasoes of power and pleasure, and it is possible to equate the forensic photograph, the erotic photograph, and the fashion photograph, in that any of them may depict the beautiful woman as oject. However, in Izima`s “ “Landscapes with a corpse“, the subjects reassert their personalities. Here, the narrative has usually been suggested by the model herself.
Earlier photographs in Izima`s “Landscapes with a corpse” series had a definite Pop sensibility. But his recent works are more formal and restrained. Some are virtually monochromes, while in others a touch of pure color glows in a field of more subdued shades. In their attention to pure form, and, in particular, to the irregular forms created by bodies encased in fabric, they echo the UKIYO-E – pictures of the floating world – of the Edo period.
Text by Anne Doran from the catalogue Izima kaoru “Landscapes with a corpse“ published by Robert Gessler for the Lintel & Nusser Edition, Germany, 2000.