Kathleen Cullen

Provacateurs of Japanese Photography

Curated by Russet Lederman and Kathleen Cullen


May 25 - June 30, 2010


Opening Reception: Wednesday May 26th 6 - 8 pm


Featured Artists: Araki, Tomoko Sawada, Ryoko Suzuki, Shuji Terayama, Katsumi Watanabe, Miwa Yanagi, Kohei Yoshiyuki

Kathleen Cullen is pleased to present Provocateurs of Japanese Photography, a group exhibition curated by Kathleen Cullen and Russet Lederman, which presents experimental and innovative Japanese photographs, films and photo books from the 1970s and 2000s.


The last 15 years has seen an extraordinary increase in the number of Japanese women photographers receiving attention both in Japan and the west. Often highlighting and questioning stereotypes of traditional female roles in Japanese society, these works seek to provoke and engage a dialogue of resistance. By juxtaposing these works with the socially provocative and experimental works of Japanese male photographers from the 1970s, this exhibition looks at the similarities and differences in the means of provocation used by two generations and genders separated by 30 years.


Emphasizing the diverse media used by many of the photographers in this exhibition, the installation purposefully commingles films, photographs and photo books. Works by 1970s male photographers include: Shuji Terayama’s experimental film Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1971/74), Kohei Yoshiyuki’s voyeuristic photos and accompanying book from his Document Park series (photos 1971-79, book 1980/2007), Araki’s sexually risqué images and Katsumi Watanabe’s portraits and book of gang members and other outcasts from the blue light Kabukicho district (1966-80). Contemporary photographs and photo books by female Japanese photographers include: Tomoko Sawada’s School Days (2004), Miwa Yanagi’s Elevator Girls (1997-98), and Ryoko Suzuki’s Masturbation (1999) and Bind (2001) series.