KEN KITANO : Now, Here, and Beyond
17 January - 7 March, 2015

Ken Kitano, Olancha, CA 2013; from Day Light

Ken Kitano, Olancha, CA 2013; from Day Light

In 2013, Japanese artist Ken Kitano spent one year working in the United States with the support of the National Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan. Inspired by the rich history and practice of West Coast landscape photography, the artist settled in Los Angeles and created a new body of photographs illustrating relationships between nature, human life and planetary movements. Kitano’s photographs center largely on the complimentary motions of the sun and the moon as they travel across the skies and are called Day Light and Watching the Moon, respectively. Like his earlier series One Day, Kitano’s Day Light images are produced on 4 x 5 negative film using lengthy exposure times that often last a full day, from dawn until dusk. The act of photographing for hours at a stretch becomes a process of meditation and reflection for the artist as he witnesses Earth’s star travel along its daily path from his fixed position at the camera tripod. For Watching the Moon the artist aligns his camera lens with the moon’s trajectory with the aid of an equatorial telescope mount, allowing him to capture the motion of the full moon and the changes in the darkened landscape around him. 

The artist writes:
There are three layers of operation: the camera (and I), the foreground (humans and Earth), and the background (the stars in space). The bright line traced by the sun in 'Day Light' and the nighttime landscape that melts away in 'Watching the Moon' 
reveal the slight misalignments that arise between time on earth and time as it passes throughout the wider realm of the universe. It’s in these very slippages that we miraculously exist. There’s no way of knowing whether there will be humans living on Earth in a thousand years. Yet the sun, moon, and Milky Way will likely be without much change even after ten thousand. We stand here, and now, like the most improbable grains of sand in this ever-expanding and moving universe. In the misalignments that appear in my final prints, I felt I saw the touching and the splitting of two existences – the here and now, together with the eternal and beyond.
–Ken Kitano


Ken Kitano (b. Tokyo, 1968) graduated from the College of Industrial Technology of Nihon University in 1991 and began working as a freelance photographer in 1993. He has been the recipient of a Society of Photography Award (2004); a Newcomer’s Award from the Photographic Society of Japan (2007); New Photographer Prize for the 27th Higashikawa Award and Special Prize for the 14th Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art (2011). In 2013 he was selected by the National Agency of Cultural Affairs’ International Cultural Exchange Assistance and Overseas Study Program and the Japan-US Friendship Commission’s Creative Arts Fellowship for a year-long residency in Santa Monica. His work has been exhibited in international venues such as the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Three Shadows Photograph Art Centre, Beijing; The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico; and Kawasaki City Museum. Monographs of his work include our face: Asia (Seigensha co. ltd), 2013; Witness #2 Daido Moriyama (Nazraeli Press), 2007; Resolution/Dissolution (National Museum of Art, Tokyo), 2006.

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