Ikko Narahara “Fashion”

Dates: Feb 10 – Mar 11, 2023
Location: amanaTIGP

The gallery will implement necessary measures to prevent coronavirus infections.

amanaTIGP is pleased to present “Fashion,” a solo exhibition of the work of Ikko Narahara, from February 10 to March 11, 2023. The exhibition consists of eighteen photographs from the 1960s, when magazines were Narahara’s primary medium for presenting his fashion work. Memories may still be fresh of “Ikko Narahara Photographs: The Promised Journey to Spain,” Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo (2019), the last major solo exhibition before Narahara’s passing, which also displayed his works in the same genre. This exhibition is, however, the first to feature his vintage fashion prints in nineteen years, since the 2004 retrospective, “Mirror of Space and Time: Synchronicity,” in the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.

I had studied art history in graduate school, and fashion photography seemed to me to be the area of photography that was closest to art. The thing that attracted me most about the field of fashion was that in it human beings expressed themselves by placing various things on themselves and becoming “living artistic shapes.” In this area I felt as if I would be able to discover a way to fuse ordinary “shot” photographs with “made” photographs produced and directed according to my own ideas. I was filled with confidence that I would be able to enjoy taking fashion photographs, no matter how many I had to take, day after busy day. […] Every experience in those days was in the future tense. A literally endless sense of excitement filled the 1960s.

Ikko Narahara
Ikko Narahara: Mirror of Space and Time, Shinchosha, 2004, p. 94

Narahara spent three years in Europe, starting in 1962. The work he created during those years was published as the photography book Where Time Has Stopped. After returning to Japan, he examined its traditional culture in one of his masterworks, the Japanesque series. At that time, he was also actively publishing fashion photographs, mainly in magazines. In 1962, he worked on a monthly series entitled “The Fashion Photograph Environs” for Asahi Camera. As the series title indicates, he was presenting a new approach to fashion photography. In 1959, a visit with the editor of the fashion magazine Soen to fashion designer Hanae Mori’s atelier inspired what grew into a long-lasting friendship between Narahara and Mori, including several collaborations. In addition to works for the Fuji Spinning Co., Ltd. calendar, he produced “The World of Hanae Mori,” a promotional film, jointly directing it with Ikko Tanaka and Toichiro Narushima. He also formed an artistic partnership with Mitsuo Katsui, a graphic designer who had worked on Narahara’s photobooks. Together they produced covers for the women’s magazine Fujin Koron with innovative layouts, the sheet divided in two, upper and lower, from 1969 to 1970.

The photographs displayed in this exhibition embellished the covers and interior pages of fashion magazines, namely Fujin Gaho and High Fashion, as well as photography magazines such as Nippon Camera. The subjects are almost all garments that Hanae Mori and Ko Ito designed, modeled by, among others, Hiroko Matsumoto, renowned for having taken part in Paris Fashion Week. Narahara described fashion photography as “cultural criticism,” but the images as style guides created to launch new fashions in society vividly mark the glamour of each age. In them we can also see an artistic style in which experimental compositions and techniques are attempted with an energy that seems to be responding to the fluidity of the fabric. Here we can glimpse Narahara’s own inquisitive mind as he directs a fresh gaze at fashion photography. We hope that you will enjoy this exhibition, which sheds light from new directions on the work of Ikko Narahara.

The following solo exhibitions of Ikko Narahara will be held concurrently.

【Concurrent Exhibition】
“Narahara Ikko ‘Gaze on the boundaries’”
Dates: Feb 4 – Mar 26, 2023
Location: Kure Municipal Museum of Art, Hiroshima

“Narahara Ikko Photographs from New Acquisitions”
Dates: Feb 11 – May 7, 2023
Location: The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama

Ikko Narahara was born in 1931 in Fukuoka Prefecture and passed away in 2020. His father, a prosecutor, frequently relocated for work; this meant that Narahara spent his adolescence living in various places throughout Japan. At the same time Narahara began photographing, in 1946, he was also interested in art and literature. He graduated from Chuo University with a degree in Law in 1954, and he gained a master’s degree in Art (specializing in Art History) at Waseda University. In 1955, he joined the innovative artist group Jitsuzaisha (Real Existence). This group was headed by Masuo Ikeda and Ay-O, and it also gave Narahara the opportunity to deepen his connection to Shuzo Takiguchi, as well as other artists like Tatsuo Ikeda and On Kawara. At the same time, he also came to know Shomei Tomatsu and Eikoh Hosoe. In 1959, together with other photographers, these three formed the independent photo agency VIVO, which dissolved in 1961. Narahara went on to photograph various places around the world while basing himself in Paris (1962-65) and New York (1970-74). Aside from his numerous exhibitions, Narahara has also published many photography books, finding favorable reception abroad. Major exhibitions include “Human Land,” Matsushima Gallery, Tokyo (1956); “Ikko Narahara,” Maison Européenne de La Photographie, Paris (2002-2003) and “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), the Medal with Purple Ribbon (1996), Distinguished Contributions Award of the Photographic Society of Japan Awards (2005), and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (2006).

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