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Ikko NARAHARA "Light and Waves: the Sculpture of Kyoko ASAKURA" 1980 Photobook


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Ikko NARAHARA, Photographer. Kyoko ASAKURA, Sculpture. "Light and Waves." Two Volumes: "Shining Bronze" & "Sea of Bronze, Sea of Crystal." Mitsuo KATSUI, Art Direction. Essays by Masuo IKEDA, J. G. BALLARD & Ikko NARAHARA. Interview of Kyoko ASAKAURA by Ichiro HARYU. Japan: Parco, 1980, First Edition, HB, 42 cm x 31 cm, color & b/w plates, text in Japanese and English. Two decorative cloth-bound hardcover books with numerous fold-outs housed in decorative case.

A monumental collaborative masterpiece by two of Japan's greatest living artists. A Monumental publication - the set is about 14 pounds. Kyoko Asakura is the daughter of Fumio Asakura who is often called the father of modern Japanese sculpture. She has long since become famous in her own right, being one of Japan's greatest living artists. In Japan there is a long tradition of photographing art objects. Beginning as a way to document the objects, then transforming into collaborations between the artist, the art works themselves and the photographer - re-imagining art into a new form. This is the greatest example of the genre I have ever seen. The art, the photography, the printing and the giant books themselves are a tour-de-force. The numerous double-page fold-outs make the images even more grandiose. The first volume, "Shining Bronze" is shot in luminous duo-tone gravure in Asakura's famed Azabu studio. Narahara brings the sculpture to life on the two-dimensional page with virtuosic lighting and black negative space. The second volume, "Sea of Bronze, Sea of Crystal" brings the sculpture to life by transporting them to two different ocean settings. The first was shot on Miyako-jima island in Okinawa where the figures are posed on the sand and submerged under water. The second was shot on the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido - this time covered with snow and ice.

In Narahara's essay "A Sky in the Sea - A Soundless Sea", he writes of his vision: "A dream-like scene passed across my mind of a carved statue standing in a snow-covered field... Gradually, a conception started forming itself of a life born in the water, then coming up on the land to be crystallized... Cherished in my mind there is always a kind of longing for the infinite future... I was pressed by an irresistible impulse to leave the bronze on the bottom of the sea as it seemed the most suitable environment for it.... It seems to me that a piece of sculpture captured by the camera is unfortunate, for though it should be seen and appreciated as a three-dimensional object, here it is placed in a different dimension. However, I tried to turn this misfortune into a blessing and to create a sight which could be created only by the camera, a sight in which it is as if the sculpture were carried to and placed on a different plane. It was also an attempt to liberate the sculpture which might be destined to be placed in the white room of the museum or on a street corner as a monument, into cosmic space..."

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Narahara was a founding member of the short-lived but highly influential Vivo agency. Like other Vivo members, Narahara broke with dominant modes of documentary photography, which emphasized story telling, and pursued a more individual and subjective vision. Narahara has published many of the greatest photobooks from Japan including "Where Time Has Stopped", "Man and His Land", "Espana", and "Where Time Has Vanished." He has long championed the field of art-object photography, publishing highly-prized photobooks on the glass art of Marcel Duchamp, the clay sculpture of Kazuo Yagi, the bronze sculpture of Kyoko Asakura and others. This book was not sold in bookstores - only through the original exhibition.

Condition: Excellent.