Masahiro Kodaira “I am that I am”

Dates: Jan 13 – Feb 17, 2018
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film
Opening reception: Saturday, Jan 20, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film is pleased to present “I am that I am,” a solo exhibition by Masahiro Kodaira from January 13 to February 17. This exhibition, which will be his second solo exhibition, and his first in 3 years, with the gallery, will feature 13 works from the titular series produced after his first show “The Wholly Other.”

When I walk about as I please, my eyes are drawn to things for reasons I don’t understand. Even as I feel some discomfort, I hold up my camera, adjust a couple of dials, and focus in on my psychological target. Why did I look at it? When I noticed it, I was already looking at it. I’m still looking at it. It maybe that usually, such an event would be explained by saying, “I felt like it.” Thought about more seriously, however, it’s a terrifying thing. Was it really me that felt like it? And how did I start looking at it? I’m shaken by the fact that I notice things only after the eye perceives them.
Before I become conscious of a thing, there is something that surveys and assesses the field of vision. It’s a hidden presence that continually impels consciousness to look and to evaluate.  

Masahiro Kodaira, September 2017

Based on his interest in the fundamental relations between man and the world, Kodaira has documented and shared a “chain of meanings that exceeds coincidence” through intuitive snap shooting practices. Through meticulous work in the darkroom, he has continuously expressed the sense that he felt while shooting by fully analyzing the photographic subjects which drew his eye. In his intuitive approach to making photographs, which might be described as “guidance of the eye,” he has identified a manifestation of human existence: “The dual presence of a consciousness aware of the self, and another that I sense in the center or slightly towards the back of my head.” The attempt to make contact with the second, hidden presence through his practice has been summarized in the exhibition title “I am that I am.”

Kodaira’s new series maintains a certain tension in the overwhelming confrontation of peculiar scenes and moments. However, in contrast to his previous series, which was an accumulation of awe and ecstasy that one feels in response to absolutely external worlds such as landscapes and natural phenomena, in the latest work, his focus has shifted to the “something” that controls his consciousness as he confronts the world. At times, he shoots at sites where significant socio-historical events have occurred. In these images, the subject is not only the natural object or phenomena, but also extended to include humans, society, and the city, suggesting that he is moving in closer to the subject for intent gazing. Kodaira’s eyes have been sharpened through aggressive insertion into his relations with the social world. With them, he captures new sensibilities and ways of seeing to show how people are connected and able to be connected from the world.

A book I am that I am will also be published in conjunction with the exhibition.【Publication details】
Masahiro Kodaira, I am that I am
Published by Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film (2018)
Retail price: ¥2,600- (tax excl.)
Soft cover, total 48 pages, 36 illustrations, H19 x W19 cm, 0.12 kg
Essay by Yuri Mitsuda (English and Japanese)

Masahiro Kodaira was born in Tokyo in 1972 and graduated from Tokyo Zokei University in 1997. He studied photography under Yutaka Takanashi and Akihide Tamura. Joined the archive project for the work of Kiyoji Otsuji in 1996, he produced modern prints from Otsuji’s negatives and also organized exhibitions of Otsuji’s works. Motivated by his interest in the fundamental mysteries regarding his relation to the world, Kodaira shoots intuitively in response to various environments. He then fixes his images, through his sophisticated darkroom techniques, as works with unique visual intensity. His solo exhibitions include “Dr. Lorenz’s Butterfly”, Sirius Aidem Photo Gallery (Tokyo, 2002), “tsuzuki-no kawarini (Instead of Continuation)”, Gekkoso (Tokyo, 2009), “The Wholly Other”, Omotesando Garo (Tokyo, 2013) and “The Wholly Other”, Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film and Plaza Gallery (Tokyo, 2015). His works are included in the collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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