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Witkovsky A mythical figure in the story of Japanese photography, Takuma Nakahira is a founder of Provoke Purovoku , the short-lived experimental magazine that featured photographers like Daido Moriyama working in the are, bure, boke grainy, blurry, out-of-focus style of the late s.
Nakahira destroyed his own negatives in , and he suffered a traumatic loss of memory in , events that have contributed to his relative obscurity outside of Japan. The laudable artworks on view mostly attacked a social system from which their makers pretended to keep some distance; Nakahira observed that, in fact, this art could only be the very face of such a system, which created a sort of play area for artists to vent futile opposition to the forces of capital flow and authoritarian control.
Those forces had a vested interest in shoring up authorial ego when, in fact, it was the art goods and their exchange value that really mattered: Yet his own contribution to the Paris Biennale, which he described at length for Asahi Journal and again for the photography magazine Asahi Camera the following February, allowed him guarded hope that art and art criticism could still have a purpose in the world.
Takuma nakahira essays on love
What was it about Circulation: Takuma Nakahira, who got his start in photography and criticism only around , had by the end of that decade already become one of the most influential figures in contemporary culture in Japan.
He wanted a relation between these two activities that could come closer than complementarity— a joint force of action, perhaps. Provocative Materials for Thought—the short-lived photography journal that Nakahira helped to found, which blazed its trail across the Tokyo cultural scene in those years—took its name from such intertwined desires.
Writing and photography should illuminate the world, explosively, and they should set each other ablaze as well.
Yet Nakahira remained dissatisfied and, worse, fatigued by his efforts to develop a productive analysis of contemporary culture. Prichard has translated that essay and others in the recent reprint of For a Language to Come, as well as in Circulation: Date, Place, Events; issued by the Tokyo house Osiris, both books also have keenly written afterwords by cultural critic Akihito Yasumi.
The word tree is general, but a photograph of any tree will be specific, Nakahira argued, with catlike stealth, before pouncing on the surprise conclusion: The effort of making For a Language to Come left Nakahira spent and temporarily uninterested in further photographic projects. Circulation was not only the title of this piece but also its ambition and modus operandi. More literally than did For a Language to Come, the fleeting work raced with an illuminating flash of brilliance through the early s art scene.
Circulation was, in essence, a performance piece in which photographs were the engine of the performance rather than a record of it. New prints from the original negatives were shown in New York in and feature currently in an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He would hang only pictures taken and printed that very day, making a photo-diary of his Parisian experiences that would cover his Biennale wall in stages.
By circulation Nakahira meant his own movements around Paris, the movement of his pictures from darkroom to display, and the perambulation past his evolving piece by visitors to the Biennale, whom Nakahira photographed for this installation as well. Takuma Nakahira, Untitled, , from the series Circulation: My project … was born from this motivation. Every day I would go out into the streets of Paris from my hotel.
I would capture all of these things on film, develop them the same day, make enlargements, and put them up for display that evening, often with the photographic prints still wet from the washing process.