Kiyoshi Suzuki “Soul and Soul, S Street Shuffle”

Dates: Sep 27 – Oct 26, 2013
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film (AXIS Bldg, Roppongi)
Opening reception: Friday, Sep 27, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film is pleased to present ‘Soul and Soul, S Street Shuffle,’ a solo exhibition of works by Kiyoshi Suzuki, from September 27 (Fri) to October 26 (Sat). The exhibition will be Suzuki’s first solo exhibition at Taka Ishii Gallery and comprise 24 selected vintage prints from his first book Soul and Soul (1972) and S Street Shuffle (1988), which received the first Society of Photography Award.

Kiyoshi Suzuki (1943–2000) was born in Yoshima Village (currently Iwaki City), Fukushima Prefecture, former site of the Joban coal mine. After graduating from a part-time high school, he moved to Tokyo to become a cartoonist, but was so moved by Ken Domon’s Children in Chikuho (1960) that he decided to become a photographer. He attended the Tokyo College of Photography until 1969. In 1970, he debuted with the series “Coal Mining Town” which included images of the coal mine in his hometown and was published in Camera Mainichi. In 1972, he self-published his first book of photographs Soul and Soul and continued to make photographs while making a living as a sign painter thereafter. He published The Light that has Lighted the World in 1976, Mind Games (recipient of the 33rd Photographic Society of Japan’s Newcomer’s Award) in 1982, Finish Dying (recipient of the 1995 Ken Domon Award) in 1994, and Durasia in 1998. Nearly all of the publications were self-published and designed. In all cases, Suzuki took a line from a book he loved and expanded the worldview he saw in the book. The resulting unique and unfettered works show the lifework of a photographer who dedicated his life to books.

The fortunate Islands: If we were to use our imaginations to attempt one final example of word play, we might say that Suzuki Kiyoshi’s book of photographs are liked a group of islands. Floating on the water’s surface, they reveal a distinct shape when viewed from afar, but approach them and look a little closer, and the ripples of their contours ceaselessly change. While Suzuki’s collections take the distinct shape of a book, they also seem to suggest that they are temporary aggregations. As we have seen, these photobooks resonate and form links with each other through a variety of channels. Due to the topography of the sea floor, islands might also be connected and there might be some islands that are unexpectedly isolated in a deep ocean trench. The ocean surrounds the island. This reminds us that another subject to which Suzuki was extremely partial was the water’s edge. And turning the pages in one of Suzuki Kiyoshi’s books of photography is the beginning of a journey to these islands.   

– Rei Masuda, ‘Journey to a photo book’ in Kiyoshi Suzuki: Hundred Steps and Thousand Stories
(National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 2010)

Machiel Botman, one of Netherland’s most important contemporary photographers, discovered Kiyoshi Suzuki’s photographs and brought them into the limelight. In 2008, Botman organized the exhibition ‘Kiyoshi Suzuki – Soul and Soul 1969–1999’, which was shown at the Nooderlicht Photogallery in Groningen, Netherlands and traveled to Deichtor Hallen in Hamburg, Germany, in 2008 and 2009. The first large-scale retrospective of Suzuki’s works ‘Kiyoshi Suzuki: Hundred Steps and Thousand Stories’ was held at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo in 2010. That same year, Hakusuisha published a facsimile edition of Suzuki’s Soul and Soul. In conjunction with this exhibition, Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film will publish Soul and Soul, S Street Shuffle. We sincerely hope you will take this opportunity to view Kiyoshi Suzuki’s works, which take dreams, journeys, and literature as their themes and weave together an elaborate and multilayered world.

Exhibition catalogue details
Soul and Soul, S Street Shuffle
Published by Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film
Publish date: September 27, 2013, Softcover: 36 pages, 24 images,
Size: H18.7 X W24.2cm, Retail price: ¥2,100- (tax included)

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Kiyoshi Suzuki  Official  Page