Ikko Narahara “Rrose Sélavy”

Dates: Nov 1 – Dec 21, 2019
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo viewing room

Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to announce “Rrose Sélavy,” an exhibition of works by Ikko Narahara, from Nov 1 to Dec 21, 2019. In the 1970s, Ikko Narahara was commissioned by Shuzo Takiguchi to photograph Marcel Duchamp’s “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)” in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Collection. The resulting series of photographs, which captured the transparent glass work amidst the shifting natural light that fills the exhibition room, was published in 1991 as Duchamp’s Large Glass and Shuzo Takiguchi’s Cigar Box. This exhibition features the photographic portfolio Rrose Sélavy (1991), which was constituted by seven of the most representative images from Duchamp’s Large Glass and Shuzo Takiguchi’s Cigar Box.

Ikko Narahara was determined to never shoot any photographs in museums or restaurants. Commanded, however, by Shuzo Takiguchi’s unrealized dream to write a book with images of Marcel Duchamp’s “Large Glass,” Narahara entered the legendary premises of the Philadelphia Museum of Art one fall day in 1973. Luckily, the fountain, which could be seen through the window that had replaced a wall, but often stopped, begun to spout.
Looking back on what had brought him to this day, the photographer said that he had been a drop of water landed on a mountain top. Having traveled on a dark underground road, it arrived at the root of a tree, which sucked it up and brought it into one of its leaves. He thought of the “Large Glass” as a leaf and his photographs of it as a drop of water.
That whole day, the drop of water devoted itself to watching the changes in light over time as it passed through the cracked glass. After many years underground, that drop of water has now been revived as crystal prints, waiting to splash in a brilliant, mesmerizing coincidence.

Takashi Hiraide, ‘Dispersal of a Drop,’ text written for Ikko Narahara’s portfolio Rrose Sélavy

The Rrose Sélavy (1991) portfolio features seven photographs from Narahara’s “Large Glass” series, which had not been published as his work at the time. Narahara’s close friend Mitsuo Katsui designed the portfolio and the images, which were selected by another close friend the artist Kazuo Okazaki, were printed on crystal photo paper to emphasize transparency and vividness. The Rrose Sélavy portfolio not only provides occasion to reexamine Narahara’s photographic work but also evokes the various relations that shaped the work, between the artist, Katsui, and Okazaki, as well as that between Duchamp and Takiguchi.

【Portfolio details】
Ikko Narahara, Rrose Sélavy
Published by NARAHARA IKKO ARCHIVES + Tokyo Publishing House, 2018
Design and production cooperation: Mitsuo Katsui, Kazuo Okazaki, Top Art Kamakura Co., Ltd.
7 lambda crystal prints
Image size: 52.2 x 37 cm
Paper size: 61 x 50.8 cm
Box size: 61.2 x 52.7 x 5.5 cm
Edition of 7

Ikko Narahara was born in 1931 in Fukuoka Prefecture. He enrolled in a Master’s program (Art history) at Waseda University and in 1955 joined Jitsuzaisha [Real Existence], an avant-garde artist group together with Masuo Ikeda and Ay-O. At this time, Narahara socialized with artists such as Tatsuo Ikeda and On Kawara as well as Shuzo Takiguchi. During the same period, he met Shomei Tomatsu, Eikoh Hosoe, and together they set up an independent agency named VIVO (dissolved in 1961). Narahara had actively travelled the world, shifting his base of research and practice from Paris (1962-65) to New York (1970-74), holding numerous exhibitions throughout the course of his career. He has published a diverse number of photography books, and thus continues received high international acclaim. Narahara’s major solo exhibitions include, “Human Land,” Matsuya Gallery (Tokyo, 1956), “Ikko Narahara,” Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris, 2002-2003), “Mirror of Space and Time: Synchronicity,” Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2004). Major awards include the Japan Photo Critics Association Newcomer’s Award (1958), The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture’s Art Encouragement Prize (1968), the Mainichi Arts Award (1968), the Photographic Society of Japan Annual Award (1986) and The Medal with Purple Ribbon (1996).

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