Filtering by Tag: Hisaji Hara

Hisaji Hara at Reflex Art Gallery

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A PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAYAL OF THE PAINTINGS OF BALTHUS

By Hisaji Hara

23 March - 11 May 2013

In the series, A Photographic Portrayal of the Paintings of Balthus, Hisaji Hara brings together two modes of artistic expression. An important collection of works, including still life's, has been selected from this series for the show at Galerie Alex Daniels - Reflex Amsterdam, which is Hisaji Hara's first solo show in the Benelux. Hara has embraced the traditional process of albumen silver development, as well as more contemporary technology that converts digital data into inkjet prints. Works created through these contrasting methods are to inhabit the same space in this exhibit, allowing viewers to travel between the realms of painting and photography, the analog and the digital, time-honored métier and modern innovation, thus engaging them in an exploration of many borders. The series is based on a thorough investigation of the European master's oeuvre. The artist recreated the canvases through careful staging design, converting the original context into scenes steeped in Japanese nostalgia. Hara's work suggests an alternative means of merging digital techniques with historically established traditions, thus inheriting the legacy of past artistic practices with the most advanced technology of our day.

Text courtesy of Reflex Amsterdam.

Hisaji Hara

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The Photo Exchange

I recently saw and exhibition of the photos of Hisaji Hara at Rose Gallery in Bergamot Station. That exhibition has now closed. However, here are a few photographs by the photographer. Not all of these photos were shown at Rose Gallery.

The following text is taken from Aline Smithson’s LENSCRATCH blog.

Many photographers, myself included, are inspired by painters. Toyko photographer Hisaji Hara has reproduced art works by Balthus in timeless black and white imagery.

Hara’s tranquil monochrome portraits look strangely familiar — and indeed, all are modeled after paintings by Balthus (1908-2001), one of the most revered artists of the 20th century. Although the figures and background furnishings are not identical to the originals, the compositions are. Through this tableau-vivant-like approach, Hara somehow manages to capture the essence of Balthus’s works.

By Jim McKinniss

Images and text courtesy of The Photo Exchange

Hisaji Hara — Artweek.LA

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Hisaji Hara: A Photographic Portrayal of the Photographs of Balthus

June 26, 2012

Using medium-format film and meticulous in-camera methods, Hisaji Hara reinvents the legendary and provocative paintings of highly revered 20th century figurative painter, Balthus (1908-2001). Closes July 7 at RoseGallery.

In his staged tableaux, Hara appropriates the adolescent subjects featured in Balthus’ canvases, paying particular attention to details in posture and expression. The setting as well as the costuming, however, are uniquely Japanese. Thus, the artist culls from the suggestive vocabulary of the originals – paintings simultaneously youthful and erotic – while playing with strict architectural formalism and Lolitaesque obsessions that anchor the work in Japanese cultural traditions.

Hara’s technique involves creating multiple exposures in-camera without computer manipulation, coupled with the use of smoke machines and cinematic lighting. The result is a highly enchanting and singular print quality that reinforces the poignant longing and adolescent reverie that his subjects embody.

Hisaji Hara was born in Tokyo, Japan, and graduated from the Musashino University of Art and Design in 1986. In 1993 he emigrated to the United States and worked as a director of photography for television and documentary film before returning to Japan in 2001. “A photographic portrayal of the paintings of Balthus” was made over a period of five years beginning in 2006. In 2010 he received first prize at the Yokohama Photo Festival for the work.

Text and images courtesy of Artweek.LA

This Artweek.LA

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Double Vision: This Artweek.LA

June 25, 2012

Hisaji Hara: A Photographic Portrayal of the Paintings of Balthus | Using medium-format film and meticulous in-camera methods, Hisaji Hara reinvents the legendary and provocative paintings of highly revered 20th century figurative painter, Balthus (1908-2001). In his staged tableaux, Hara appropriates the adolescent subjects featured in Balthus' canvases, paying particular attention to details in posture and expression. The setting as well as the costuming, however, are uniquely Japanese. Thus, the artist culls from the suggestive vocabulary of the originals -- paintings simultaneously youthful and erotic -- while playing with strict architectural formalism and Lolitaesque obsessions that anchor the work in Japanese cultural traditions.

Hisaji Hara: A Photographic Portrayal of the Paintings of Balthus closes July 7 at RoseGallery

Francisco Toledo: Multiples | Best known for his depictions of a reality where the world of animals and humans forms a continuous unity, Toledo, an extremely versatile artist, works in varied media including painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and photography. This new exhibit features 40 mixed-media works. Many of these feature laser-cut elements, made from Toledo's drawings, collaged to vellum or heavy paper and painted in oil or watercolor. Four of these have been made in numbered editions, however Toledo has hand-painted each piece in the edition. Some works feature a net motif that ties together the composition. These nets have a web-like beauty but, like a spiders web, are capable of entrapping living creatures.

Francisco Toledo: Multiples closes July 7 at Latin American Masters

To read more from This Artweek.LA (June 25, 2012), click here.

Review: Photographer Hisaji Hara channels Balthus at Rose

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Hisaji Hara's "A study of 'The Room.'"

Hisaji Hara's ravishing photographs at Rose are billed as "portrayals" of the paintings of Balthus (Baltusz Klossowski de Rola, 1908-2001). They adopt subjects, poses and scenarios from the French artist's work, but like all acts of translation they interpret rather than merely replicate, and have a provocative life of their own.

Young girls spread languorously across chairs and benches, in postures of surrender -- to sleep or potentially seduce. One gazes at herself in a hand mirror; another, on all fours, reads a book on the floor. Hara's adolescent models are Japanese and wear traditional schoolgirl uniforms (based on British sailor suits), which in Japan carry a peculiar sexual charge. Still, if the stilted eroticism in Balthus' scenes frequently jolts, these altered versions vibrate with subtler, more sublimated tension.

Hara, who lives outside Tokyo, staged the pictures in an Art Nouveau-style medical clinic built in the 1920s, lending the scenes a sense of temporal remove. The palpable, luminous atmosphere within (created with the help of a fog machine) further shifts the images into a stylized past, dreamlike and vaguely pictorialist. Balthus' palette, rich in reds and earthen golds, has been traded for a soft grisaille. Complementing the figurative pieces are several beautiful still lifes. One breathtaking assembly of persimmons, freckled and split, speaks as poignantly as Hara's young women of ripeness, purity and vulnerability.

Rose Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 264-8440, through July 7. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.rosegallery.net

Text courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Hisaji Hara - An Interview

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The Fog of Time

An Interview with Hara Hisaji

The legacy of Showa Japan runs deep and is also evident in your photographs. What is your attraction to Showa?

The building that appears in the pictures was a privately-run clinic built in the Taisho era (1912-26) and actually used until Showa 40 (1960). Discovering this building was the direct catalyst for my having realized this series. If this series exudes the feeling of Showa at all, then I think that’s largely due to the atmosphere of the building itself. Of course, having been born in Showa 39, I think that the age carries a lot of meaning for me. The values of Showa have probably had no small effect on the formation of my character.

However, for an artist like me who expresses himself through photographs, Showa pretty much means the 20th century just as it was. Photographs that appeared in the 19th century define the way of life of that age, certainly for having spanned some 100 years, and those 100 years mostly overlap with Showa, too. Living now in the 21st century, I’m seeking new means of photographic expression and to that end I think it’s essential that I look back and consider the 20th century with a critical eye.

Your photographs deftly balance innocence and eroticism. Can you please comment on this?

Is there in fact an underlying concept of innocence pairing off with eroticism? I suspect that reading an antithesis between these two components in the series comes from a 20th century mode of photographic expression. In the original Balthus paintings that I chose to use as my motif, quite a bit of the young girl’s arms and thighs appear. While that might be deemed eroticism, at the same time, a sense of tranquility hangs about it, as in early Italian Renaissance religious paintings. Perhaps the reason why Balthus dared to paint the limbs of a young girl was that he was attempting to provoke narrow-minded 20th century notions of eroticism. And so in this photographic series the dual presence of innocence and eroticism points to the objectification of 20th century values, which is itself an important part of the work.

Can you talk a little about your work flow (art direction, setting up, development, etc)?

Vis-à-vis the thousands—we might even say tens of thousands—of years of painting history, photographic history is but 200 years old. And yet, you can consider photographic history in the same context as the history of the discovery of photosensitive materials. Assuming that photography is an expression born of our gazing at the world, then I believe that photography should be included in the long history of painting.

To recreate in this series the same feeling of depth that appears in the paintings, I used a smoke machine to artificially create fog. It was one of those huge smoke machines normally used in concert halls. While the rooms depicted in Balthus’ paintings have a kind of flat illumination, he still manages to provide a fitting context for his figures and backdrop. I found that it was necessary to fog my backdrop with the right amount of smoke in order to control this sense of depth.

Also, the perspective in the paintings is different from the optical perspective of a camera lens. When shooting this series, I intentionally impaired the authentic perspective of the lens, and to achieve that, I had to take various multiple exposures. I made a huge matte box to surround the camera and lens. I then attached a mask to it that would cover up part of the picture and took multiple exposure shots. Because I was shifting the focus as I took the multiple exposures, the optical perspective was impaired and I got a really attractive sense of space.

Taking multiple exposures also has another benefit. When you combine the various frames that you’ve taken, you can reproduce your trusted model and have her perform elsewhere in the picture. Artists would often use a model they liked and paint that figure multiple times into their picture.

You sometimes appear in your own photographs. Why?

I only appear once in this series. That piece is based on Balthus’ own self-portrait. Going by 20th century definitions, a photographic self-portrait is very different from a painted self-portrait. In an age where identification photographs can be forged because of digital technology, do meanings based on 20th century definitions hold any water? I think there is quite a bit of opportunity to investigate this notion. Of course, this isn’t confined to a discussion of self-portraits alone, but perhaps even all the modes of photographic expression.

Who are some photographers you admire and why?

It’s not really photographers whom I admire, but the incredibly accomplished Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. It seems to me that he was a director who created his own cinematic devices, rather than rely on the cinematic devices shared by most 20th century works. That’s why his work never seems to grow old.

http://hisajihara.com

Hara Hisaji is represented by: MEM INC. NADiff a/p/a/r/t 2F, 1-18-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013 tel. 03-6459-3205 (gallery) tel/fax. 03-6425-9482 (office)

Check out more at Ko-e Magazine

Hisaji Hara at ROSEGALLERY

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Hisaji Hara

A Photographic Portrayal of the Paintings of Balthus

ROSEGALLERY is pleased to announce the American debut of Hisaji Hara’s “A photographic portrayal of the paintings of Balthus.”  Black and white prints from this acclaimed series will be on view 19 May through 07 July, 2012.  An opening reception will be held Saturday, 19 May, 2012 from five to seven pm.

Using medium-format film and meticulous in-camera methods, Hisaji Hara reinvents the legendary and provocative paintings of highly revered 20th century figurative painter, Balthus (1908-2001).  In his staged tableaux, Hara appropriates the adolescent subjects featured in Balthus’ canvases, paying particular attention to details in posture and expression.  The setting as well as the costuming, however, are uniquely Japanese.  Thus, the artist culls from the suggestive vocabulary of the originals – paintings simultaneously youthful and erotic – while playing with strict architectural formalism and Lolitaesque obsessions that anchor the work in Japanese cultural traditions.

Hara’s technique involves creating multiple exposures in-camera without computer manipulation, coupled with the use of smoke machines and cinematic lighting.  The result is a highly enchanting and singular print quality that reinforces the poignant longing and adolescent reverie that his subjects embody.

Hisaji Hara was born in Tokyo, Japan, and graduated from the Musashino University of Art and Design in 1986.  In 1993 he emigrated to the United States and worked as a director of photography for television and documentary film before returning to Japan in 2001.  “A photographic portrayal of the paintings of Balthus” was made over a period of five years beginning in 2006.  In 2010 he received first prize at the Yokohama Photo Festival for the work.

Image: Hisaji Hara A Study of “Le Passage du Commerce – Saint Andre”, 2009. Courtesy of the artist, MEM Gallery, Tokyo and ROSEGALLERY, Los Angeles