Wateri Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

Tony Oursler + Mike Kelley
Poetics Project

Very scarce Tony Oursler + Mike Kelley exhibition catalogue / artists’ book published in conjunction with a major two-person exhibition held 1997 – 1998 in Tokyo. Includes colour installation images of the exhibition as installed at Documenta X, June 21 – September 28, 1997. “The ongoing ‘Poetics Project’ serves up a rich mix of visual and aural experiences, while inviting viewers to question the reliability of the shows as history. Artist Mike Kelley says, ‘If you don’t create your own history, someone else will.” Kelley and Tony Oursler’s the ‘Poetics Project 1977-1997’ is a retrospective work that draws from their collaborative efforts in painting, video, sculpture, drawing and music. Although the ostensible subject of this project is Kelley and Oursler’s early experiences as performers in a loose-knit musical group called the Poetics, its broader concerns are the processes by which history is constructed, and the reciprocal relationship between the fine arts and popular culture. The conflation of past and present in the ‘Poetics Project’ makes it difficult at first for the viewer to penetrate the work. Video installations and taped interviews with visual artists, rock musicians and critics are intermingled with paintings, sculptures and stacks of drawings. A precise checklist and diagram prepared by Kelley and Oursler methodically pinpoint the authorship of each work, while serving as a serf-guided tour and critical record of the project. Only with this didactic help do viewers come to realize that the ‘Poetics Project’ is almost entirely made up of works created in 1997 and 1998, though based on what Kelley and Oursler tell us is a single notebook of sketches and a collection of audio recordings–some little more than notations for never-performed works–which date from the late 1970s and early ’80s (the Poetics disbanded in 1983). Filled with irony and steeped in serf-reflexive practice, this work builds upon the radical autobiographical prose of William S. Burroughs and art works and performances by artists such as John Baldessari, Allan Kaprow and Andy Warhol. Reminiscent of Warhol’s A:A Novel, which records one day in the life of the artist in 384 pages, the ‘Poetics Project’ is an expanding template of art works which explores how the past can be reconstructed to shed light on the present.” — Diane Shamash, Art in America, October 1998

First and only edition of this unique Japanese publication from these two American artists. Cardboard covers feature decal artwork reproducing the Oursler/Kelley collaborative artwork “Poetics Country”, 1997.

* Condition: Very Good (tight, clean copy throughout with only light wear) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.

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Tony Oursler + Mike Kelley - Poetics Project (1998)
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The Light With Its Harmony
Shinzo Fukuhara / Roso Fukuhara Photographs 1913-1941

Exquisite first edition, first printing of “The Light With Its Harmony: Shizo Fukuhara / Roso Fukuhara – Photographs 1913-1941” published by The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo in 1992 on the occasion of a major exhibition of the Fukuhara brothers work at the museum. “. The book is a wonderful and important resource for the work of the Fukuhara brothers and includes biographies of the artists and texts (in Japanese and English), including Foreword by Shizuko Watari, “My Uncles, Shinzo and Roso” by Yoshiharu Fukuhara, “Living Well is the Best Revenge” by Kotaro Sugiyama, “A Place Where the Light is Just Right: Shinzo and Roso Fukuhara” by Kotaro Iizawa, “Shinzo Fukuhara’s Active Period” by Noriyoshi Sawamoto.

Beautiful photographic reproductions throughout – 54 Duotone Photographs by Shinzo Fukuhara and 35 Duotone Photographs by Roso Fukuhara.

Often called the father of Japanese modern photography, Shinzo Fukuhara– a traveler, a businessman, an aesthete, a theorist, is an author of nostalgic, melancholy pictures and considered a pioneer of Japanese art photography and a true renaissance man. Trained as a scientist and pharmacologist in Japan and the U.S. (Columbia University), he was the first CEO of Shiseido Company, Ltd and a pioneer in modern cosmetic marketing and design. In 1912 he traveled to Europe visiting England, Italy, Germany and France, where he settled in Paris. There he joined a group of young Japanese artists and while there took over 2000 photographs of the city (later published as “Paris et la Seine” in 1922). In 1923 Shinzo Fukuhara published his groundbreaking book “Hikari to Sono Kaicho” (Light with its Harmony) which proposed applying the Japanese aesthetic of haiku poetry to photography.
Shizo’s contributions to creating and promoting photography as an art form cannot be overstated. In 1921 he and his brother Roso Fukuhara established the Shashin Geijutsu-sha, a group of art photographers dedicated to pictorialism. This group mounted exhibitions at the prestigious Shiseido Gallery and published the journal Shashin Geijutsu. His brother Roso Fukuhara was also an accomplished photographer. Despite never having his photography published, he is considered a major contributor to the Japanese pictorialist photographic tradition with his strikingly modern approach, breaking from the past to create experimental photographic juxtapositions and printing methods. In 1924 Shinzo and Roso founded the Nihon Shashin-kai (Japan Photographic Society).
In his essay, “The History and Theory of Photography”, Kotaro Iizawa writing about the Fukuhara brothers wrote, “Even amid such exquisite settings as a vast field, tall mountains, or a city street, one must be in a place where the light is just right, or one does not have the material for a photograph.” These words, stated by Shinzo Fukuhara, keep alive the photos and the memories of the Fukuhara brothers even today.”

A fine example of a now very rare and sought after original museum book on two of Japan’s most important modern art photographers. Comes with inserted invitation to the later “Masters of Light” 2005 exhibition on the photographic work of Shinzo, Nobutatsu and Nobuyoshi Fukuhara and House of Shiseido, Ginza, Tokyo.

* Condition: Very Good/Fine (a tight, clean copy throughout, with very little wear, protected in original dust jacket) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.

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The Light With Its Harmony
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