Galerie Priska Pasquer is pleased to present the exhibition “Shin Yanagisawa – Andrei Molodkin”. This is the second exhibition at Galerie Priska Pasquer (previous show “Sherrie Levine – August Sander”) in which photography is paired with sculpture in order to create an open dialog between artworks from different contexts and genres.
In this show the Japanese photographer Shin Yanagisawa (1936 – 2008) is being exhibited for the first time outside Japan. The exhibition presents two bodies of work: cityscapes and street scenes from series “Tracks of the City” from the 1960s and early 1970s and from the series “Hard Winter” nude photographs taken during the artists travels to Northern Japan.
Shin Yanagisawa’s work has been regarded as “unique and eccentric” (Ryuichi Kaneko) and is being appreciated by photographer colleagues like Daido Moriyama or Yutaka Takanashi, with whom he participated in the group show “Fifteen Photographers Today” at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo in 1974.
Shin Yanagisawa’s city scenes are being characterized by their elaborate construction of the photographed space within the frame of the image. The depiction of the streets and rooms oscillate between complexity and reduction, whilst avoiding a simple perspective. His compositions are often constructed with diagonals to create the impression of shifting, layered spaces. Yanagisawa intensifies this impression through the deliberate use of light and shadow to set accents or to subdue other parts of the scene. Almost all of Yanagisawa’s street scenes embody people, but they are rarely shown in frontal view. The people seem to be in transit in places that often look inhospitable.
The series “Hard Winter” consists of nude photographs. In the way Yanagisawa depicts his subject the images imply a position of the photographer for which the photographer Nobuyoshi Araki has coined the term “I-photography”. The photographer has given up his position as noninvolved observer, but even though not being directly visible in the image he becomes part of the act.
The photographs are being juxtaposed with the wall sculpture “Neon-Oil” by the Russian artist Andrei Molodkin. The artist (*1966), who has a major exhibition at Museum Villa Stuck in Munich curated by Margarita Tupitsyn and Victor Tupitsyn (June 21 – Sept. 16, 2012), attained international recognition in recent years owing to his politically motivated crude oil sculptures and large-scale ballpoint pen drawings. In “Neon-Oil” Molodkin adjoines a black tube saturated with crude oil and a white fluorescent tube. With the use of crude oil, the base material that powers all industrial societies, Molodkin’s work critically alludes to international politics and big capital, while the fluorescent tube evokes Dan Flavin’s light sculptures. Using the same material Dan Flavin exploits the fragility of fluorescent tubes to create “a sensation of volatility of cultural icons” while for Andrei Molodkin they signify in Margarita Tupitsyn’s words the “means of social control.”