Personal Histories: Contemporary Asian Photobooks

As a new year is approaching, Galleri Image will take the opportunity to exhibit a collection of Asian photoboks from the gallery’s own library with the title ‘Personal Histories: Contemporary Asian Photobooks’.
04-01-2016 - 18-01-2016
Personal Histories: Contemporary Asian Photobooks
Lijie Zhang, Patrick Tsai, Shingo Wakagi, Kurt Tong, Kyungwoo Chun and more
As a new year is approaching, Galleri Image will take the opportunity to exhibit a collection of Asian photoboks from the gallery’s own library with the title ‘Personal Histories: Contemporary Asian Photobooks’. The books  included in the exhibition all originate from Japan, China, and South Korea and have been published within the last ten years. A selection of them have already been displayed during Photobook Week 2015 at the Aarhus School of Architecture in November this year. The exhibition at Galleri Image focuses on personal perspectives and the exhibited books will be dealing with the themes of identity, heritage, and culture in various ways.

The popularity of the photobook has been on the rise for the past decade, which has in turn generated a large range of festivals, exhibitions, and competitions, which focus exclusively on the photobook and its various forms. Asia and particularly Japan possesses a traditionally rich relationship with the photobook as a medium and art form, and before the 1980s Japanese artists traditionally published a photobook as a vital step towards a successful career. Rather than displaying books published prior to the 1980’s, Galleri Image will be displaying contemporary photobooks, which make evident the social, political, and historic developments throughout Asia.The photobook exhibition will incorporate books by artists who have previously had their work exhibited at Galleri Image. This includes Chinese artist Lijie Zhang whose installation piece ‘Atheist’ was displayed at Galleri Image during the summer of 2015. Like her exhibition, Zhang’s book Midnight Tweedle is both a personal story about Zhang’s family history as well as a document of the developments of modern day China. Korean artist and photographer Kyungwoo Chun, who has also previously exhibited work at Galleri Image, will also be represented in this exhibition in the shape of his book Thousands.

The book selection is curated by Helene Gisselmann Christiansen and can be seen at Galleri Image from Monday Jan 4 2016. 

Full list of books included in the exhibition:

Eriko Koga / Issan (2015) 
Eriko Kogas Issan is a collection of images taken in the area around the Japanese mountain, Mt. Koya located south of Osaka. The mountain is home of a 1200 year old Buddhist monastery to whose atmosphere Koga immediately felt drawn. This book documents her personal encounter with the mountain, its people and its surroundings.   

Shingo Wakagi / Eiji & Hiro(2015) 
Shingo Wakagi works as a commercial photographer and filmmaker, but the character of this book, which was published in 2015 is far more personal. The book is a portrait of Wakagis childhood friends Eiji and Hiro who both suffer from mental disabilities. Originally, Wakagi photographed the two of them purely for pleasure, but in the wake of Eijis sudden death, he decided to publish this book.   

Lijie Zhang / Midnight Tweedle(2014) 
Midnight Tweedle shows Lijie Zhangs personal perspective on modern Chinese society in the light of the nations political, social, and cultural history. The book contains both staged photographs, archival material, documentary pictures and collage, which together trace the general history of Chinas development as a country, as well as a much more personal story.   

Yui Amano / First Love(2014) 
The young photographer Yui Amano produces handmade books, and First Love is his latest edition. Amano photographs young people with his mobile phone in spontaneous situations cooking, painting graffiti, or making love. Pictures such as described here are featured in the book alongside photographs of urban landscapes showing a modern Japan.     

Koji Takiguchi / Sou(2014) 
Sou takes its beginning as Koji Takaguchis mother-in-law is dying from cancer. After her death we witness the birth of Takiguchis son, the death of his beloved cat Ponta, how his father-in-law falls ill, all this juxtaposed with archival photographs covered in dried flowers. The book is a poignant portrait of the cycle of life, at all times affected by life and death.   

Koji Onaka / Lucky Cat(2013) 
Who doesnt know the waving lucky cat? This and much else is documented in Koji Onakas book, which consists of a range of documentary photographs from Japan. The book incorporates pictures from the street, from restaurants and cafés, and from everyday life in Japan as seen through the eyes of Koji Onaka.   

Keiko Nomura / Soul Blue(2012) 
Soul Blue is Keiko Nomuras fifth book in her series about the lives of women. The book offers insight into her personal need for documenting the present before it disappears, as Nomura puts it herself. The blue tones of the images, the empty landscapes, and naked female bodies establish an atmosphere of melancholy throughout the book.   

Kuraya Takashi / A Glimmer of Light(2012) 
In Glimmer of Light Japanese Kuraya Takashi explores his complex relationship with a physically disabled father. The book documents the ambivalent love/hate relationship between Takashi and his father, which only becomes more complex when the father dies suddenly. The book includes pictures of Takashis and his fathers life in a last attempt at reconciling with the past.   

Patrick Tsai / Modern Times(2012)
In Modern Times Patrick Tsai has collected a range of images of everyday wonders from different places around China. Tsai is originally born and raised in New York, but hes also lived in Taiwan, China and now also Japan. His attentive eye for detail, his sense of humour, and his interest in the bizarre has created this very personal photobook.   

Yoshinaga Masayuki / Sento(2012) 
Sentois the name of public baths in Japan. In the past it was a popular tradition in Japan for men to visit these baths to converse with friends and acquaintances. Today, the popularity of this tradition is declining as most Japanese people now have bathing facilities at home. For this book Yoshinaga Masayuki photographed the public baths in his hometown of Juso.   

Kurt Tong / The Queen, the Chairman, and I(2011) 
The Queen, the Chairman, and I traces the history of Hong Kong through the last hundred years seen in the light of Kurt Tongs own family history. Although born in Hong Kong five years before China demanded its repossession Tong is born and raised in the UK. This book is Tongs attempt at exploring his own identity through the present and the past.   

Kotori Kawashima / Mirai-Chan(2011) 
Mirai-Chan is the portrait of a young girl during her first year of being born. Koori Kawashima photographed the daughter of one of his friends throughout an entire year and this book is the result. The pictures paint a picture of childhood, its innocence and the curiosity with which lifes very first moments are experienced. The book sold more than 110,000 copies.   

Shinryo Saeki / Aisatsu(2009) 
Aisatsumeans greetingsin Japanese, and this is the reason the book introduces itself in such a dramatic manner. Red and white are the colours that represent life and death in Japanese culture, and Shinryo Saekis images provide insight into how these two fundamental conditions of life function as part of modern Japanese life.  

Kyungwoo Chun / Thousands(2008) 
More than a hundred years ago a Chinese general with the name Chun went on a military campaign to Korea. He ended up being the first person in Korea with this name. Chunmeans thousand, which is why Kyungwoo Chun photographed a thousand people with the Chun last name for this project, a selection of which can be seen in this book.   

Takashi Yasumura / Domestic Scandals(2005) 
For this book Takashi Yasumura has taken photographs in and around his familys house in Japan. Despite the impersonal perspective and the often empty scenes, these photographs have been made from a personal desire to explore the familiar from the outside. Through photography, the familiar becomes unfamiliar.