Izima Kaoru (Japanese, b.1954) is a photographer known for creating vivid, if macabre, scenes. He was born in Kyoto, Japan, and his creative life commenced in 1977 with his first exhibition, It's a Beautiful Day. He expanded his interests in 1980 with the launch of a free paper known as Sale. Later in the decade, Kaoru participated in the establishment of a cassette-based magazine, Tra. By the time he founded the fashion magazine Zyappu in 1994, he had been involved in photography, film, and video for 15 years.

Most of the photographer’s exhibitions were in Tokyo, Amsterdam, and New York during this period. The early 1990s saw Kaoru enter the phase for which he is most well-known. Combining beauty and glamour with bloodshed and revulsion, he began to photograph attractive models and actresses, all elegantly adorned, in sequential shots where their own deaths are portrayed. His success with this motif led to exhibitions throughout Europe, taking place in London, Cologne, Dresden, and Verona. Preferring to leave the circumstances of these grisly scenes to the viewers' imaginations, Kaoru begins with wide-angle shots and narrows to close-ups. In doing so, he makes the woman herself the focus, rather than her death. In fact, he lets the actress or model determine the scene by eliciting her opinion on the perfect death.

With this method, Kaoru is able to produce still pictures that look like a film. Many of these works were assembled in the 1995 photo series Landscapes with a Corpse. Subsequent photos were bound and published by Korinsha Press in 20 Landscapes with a Corpse. However, Kaoru is not bound to one theme. His photo sequence One Sun, which follows the solar body across the sky, was lauded by the New York Photo Review as "A primal experience, and yet one that can only be visualized through the use of photography." The photographer is represented by Von Lintel Gallery in New York, among other entities. Kaoru presently resides in Tokyo.

Timeline

1954
Born in Kyoto, Japan
1980
Helped to establish the free paper "Sale"
1983
Assisted in establishing the cassette magazine "Tra"
1994
Became editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine "Zyappu" which he founded
Lives and works in Tokyo (Japan)
Active in photography, video and film since the late ‘70s

Exhibitions

2013
You Are Beautiful - Ai Kowada Gallery, Tokyo (solo)
Van Der Grinten, Cologne, Germany (solo)
gulf, Center Gallery, Fordham University, New York, NY
2012
Carpe diem – seize the day, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota City, Japan (cat.)
Highlights from the collection of Gunter Sachs, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany
2011–2012
No Fashion, please! – Fotografie zwischen Gender und Lifestyle, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (cat.)
2010
BASARA, Spiral Hall, Tokyo, Japan (group)
Rund-Form, Grenze, Koerper, Erscheinung, Gesellschaft fuer Kunst & Gestaltung, Bonn, Germany (group)
Brave New World: From the perspective of Mudam Collection, Musee d' Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (group)
Von Lintel Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Kudlek Van Der Grinten, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (solo)
2009
BLD Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Von Lintel Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Ophelia - Desire, Melancholy and Death Wish, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, Netherlands, Arnhem Flower project, Villa Giulia, Verbania, Italy (group)
2008
Wir fuer Euch, Kudlek Van Der Grinten Galerie, Cologne, Germany (group)
Garten Eden - Der Garten in der Kunst seit 1900, Staedtische Galerie Stadt Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany (group)
Der taedliche Eros oder der erotische Tod, Museum fuer Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Germany (group)
Nostalgie, L'istante e la durata del tempo, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genua, Italy (solo)
Landscape with a corpse, Galerie Andreas Binder, Monaco (solo)
Nostalgie, L'istante e la durata del tempo, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genua, Italy (group)
2007–2008
Six feet Under, Hygiene Museum, Dresden, Germany (group)
Garten Eden, Kunsthalle in Emden, Germany
2007
Kudlek Van Der Grinden Galerie, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Von Lintel Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
f a prokects, London, The UK (solo)
JUBILEE, Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (group)
Der Contract des Photographen, Museum Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany (group)
2006
Excess, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, The UK (group)
Six feet under, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, (group)
Berlin-Tokyo/Tokyo-Berlin. Die Kunst zweier Staedte, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany (group)
Der Kontrakt des Photographen, Akademie der Kuenste, Berlin (Hanseatenweg), Germany (group)
Buero fuer Fotos, Cologne, Germany (solo)
van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (solo)
Shining, Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (group)
Studio la Citta, Verona, Italy (solo)
Erblaetterte Identitaeten, Stadthaus Ulm, Germany (group)
2005
Haben wir den Ozean verloren? Inszenierte Fotografie, Staedtische Galerie, Gladbeck, Germany
Selected View on the Human Portrait, Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (group)
f a projects, London, The UK (solo)
Thomas von Lintel Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Characters, Scene I and II, Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, USA (group)
Things Fall Apart, Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, USA (group)
2004
Thomas von Lintel Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Buero fuer Fotos, Cologne, Germany (solo)
True Fictions, Stadtmuseuum Hofheim am Taunus, Germany (group)
Mirror, mirror, Reflections On Beauty, Gallery of Victoria, Australia
Mirror, mirror, Reflections On Beauty, National Museum of Australia
2003
True Fictions, Stadt Galerie Saarbrücken, Germany (group)
Images Against War, Galerie Lichtblick, Cologne, Germany (group)
Casino Luxembourg, Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (solo)
Galerie Andreas Binder, Open Art September 2003 (solo)
Reali Arte Contemporanea, Brescia, Italy (solo)
True Fictions, Staedtische Galerie Erlangen, Germany (group)
Landscapes with a Corpse, Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (solo)
Mon Paris, Galerie 21, Tokyo, Japan (group)
2002
Der Berg, Galerie Friedrich & Ungar, Munich, Germany (group)
Formen der Gewalt, Galerie Gabriele Rivet, Cologne, Germany (group)
The morning after, Galerie Cokkie Snoei, Amsterdam/Rotterdam, The Netherlands (group)
Constructed Realities, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Kansas City, KS, USA (group)
Ten Years Phase 1, Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (group)
f a projects, London, The UK (solo)
designlab.miami, Miami, USA (solo)
Rapture: Art's Seduction by Fashion 1970 - 2001, Barbican Centre, London, The UK (group)
Fashion and Body, Gallery Anne Moerchen, Hamburg, Germany (group)
Shoe, City Gallery National, Touring Exhibition, England and Scotland (group)
History of Modern Photos II, Osaka Nikon Salon, Osaka, Japan (group)
The World of Polaroid Photography - Beyond Time, Nippon Polaroid Kabushiki Kaisha, Tokyo, Japan (group)
2001
Landscapes with a corpse, Buero fuer Fotos, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Landscapes with a corpse, Gallery Thomas von Lintel, New York, USA (solo)
Landscapes with a corpse, Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich, Germany (solo)
Uncommon Threads: Contemporary Artists and Clothing, Cornell University, USA (group)
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY, USA (group)
History of Modern Photos II, Shinjuku Nikon Salon, Tokyo, Japan (group)
Tokyo Pop, Jewish Museum, Kansas, KS, USA (group)
SURFACE - contemporary photography and video from Japan, nederlands foto instituut, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (group)
2000
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 'Is photography at an end?', Staatliche Galerie Moritzburg, Halle, Germany (group)
Recent Photo and Media Art, Staatliche Galerie Moritzburg, Halle, Germany
Bill Owens, Tracey Moffatt, Chris Verene, Izima Kaoru, Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens, Greece (group)
Koerper, Huellen, Oberflaechen, Museum fuer Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany (group)
And She Will Have Your Eyes', Analix Forever, Geneva, Switzerland (group)
Landscapes with a corpse, Reali Arte Contemporanea, Brescia, Italy (solo)
Landscapes with a corpse, Galerie Andreas Binder, Munich (solo)
Landscapes with a corpse, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France (solo)
1999
20 landscapes with a corpse, Hillside Forum, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
20 landscapes with a corpse, Buero fuer Fotos, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Tokyo Shock, Buero fuer Fotos, Cologne, Germany (group)
1996
Colored Beauty, Shinjuku Park Tower Gallery 1, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1995
Colored Beauty, Solaria Plaza 'Zephyr', Fukuoka, Japan (solo)
1993
TAMAO, Gallery Verita, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
TAMAO, PRINZ, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1992
TAMAO, Gallery Verita, Tokyo (solo)
TAMAO, PRINZ, Tokyo (solo)
1991
High-tech Plants, Gallery Artium, Fukuoka, Japan (group)
1990
High-tech Plants, Hankyu Dept Store, Osaka, Japan (group)
1987
Hara Annual, Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan (group)
X-Rated, Neikrug Gallery, New York, NY, USA (group)
1986
Foto '86 Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands (group)
1984
Pigmo, Tokyo Designer's Space, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Pigmo, Polaroid Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Pigmo, Pithecantropus Erectus, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
X-RATED, Neikrug Gallery, New York, USA (group)
1980
Kouraku no Mori, Shinjukku Nikon Salon, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1977
It's a Beautiful Day, Ginza Nikon Salon,Tokyo, Japan (solo)

Literature

2003
C. Evans, Fashion at the edge, “The death of Beautiful Women” (Yale University Press, New Haven and London)
2001
Landscapes with a corpse 1999-2000 (Edition Lintel & Nusser)
1999
20 Landscapes with a corpse (Korinha Press & Co., Ltd.)
1995
New Beauty II - Colored Beauty- (Korinsha Press & Co., Ltd)
1994
Hairmode (Bilutsu shuppan-sha Ltd.)
1993
New Beauty (Pipeline Books)
1993
Tamao (Korinsha Press & Co., Ltd)
1992
Color Photographs (Korinsha Press & Co., Ltd)
1992
Black and White Photographs (Korinsha Press & Co., Ltd)
1991
Color Photographs (Korinsha Press & Co,. Ltd)
1991
Black and White Photographs (Korinsha Press & Co., Ltd)
1990
Color Photograph (Korinsha Press & Co., Ltd.)