Kohei Yoshiyuki. Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery.
Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce The Park, an exhibition of black-and-white photographs from the 1970s by Japanese photographer Kohei Yoshiyuki. The exhibition will open on Thursday, September 6, and close on Saturday, October 20, with a reception for the artist on Thursday, September 6, from 6:00 to 8:00pm. This will be Mr. Yoshiyuki’s first solo exhibition in the United States and his first exhibition since 1980.
For these photos, taken in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, Yoyogi, and Aoyama parks during the 1970s, Mr. Yoshiyuki used a 35mm camera, infrared film, and flash to document the people who gathered there at night for clandestine trysts, as well as the many spectators lurking in the bushes who watched-
and sometimes participated in-these couplings. With their raw, snapshot-like quality, these images not only uncover the hidden sexual exploits of their subjects, both homosexual and heterosexual, but also provoke questions about our own attitudes towards surveillance and voyeurism. Collectively, these photographs also serve as a chronicle of a Japan we rarely see; as Martin Parr writes in The Photobook: A History, Volume II, The Park is “a brilliant piece of social documentation, capturing perfectly the loneliness, sadness, and desperation that so often accompany sexual or human relationships in a big, hard metropolis like Tokyo.”
The exhibition will also include photographs from Mr. Yoshiyuki’s 1978 companion project, Love Hotel. The artist accessed some of the unerased videotapes made by clients of one of Japan’s infamous rooms-by-the-hour hotels and photographed the still images. The resulting pictures are grainy abstractions of faceless, nameless people caught, mid-act, in lovemaking.
A book published by Hatje Cantz and Yossi Milo Gallery will accompany the exhibition, and will include an original essay by Vince Aletti and an interview with the artist by Nobuyoshi Araki that was originally published in a 1980 monograph of the artist’s work. Kohei Yoshiyuki was born in 1946 in Japan, where he currently lives and works.