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Eikoh Hosoe
theatre of memory

Ukiyo-e projections #2-27 2003 (detail). © Eikoh Hosoe / Courtesy Studio Equis

This exhibition brings together four seminal series by Eikoh Hosoe, a leading figure in modern Japanese photography.

Taken over five decades, The butterfly dream 1960-2005, Kamaitachi 1965-68 and Ukiyo-e projections 2002-03 are driven by Hosoe’s longstanding fascination for the revolutionary dance movement butoh and for its charismatic founders, Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. Together these series epitomise his unique style, which combines photography with elements of theatre, dance, film and traditional Japanese art, and uses mythology, metaphor and symbolism. Using the latest digital technology, Hosoe prints his photographs on washi paper, mounting them in the traditional Japanese manner as scrolls and folding screens, thereby suggesting a new way of ‘reading’ his series as a continuous narrative. Hosoe’s interest in examining the beauty and strength of the human body is best seen in his acclaimed series of extremely abstract nudes, Embrace 1969-70. The models are butoh dancers associated with Hijikata.

Find out more

Read more online about butoh and the series The butterfly dream, Kamaitachi, Ukiyo-e projections and Embrace, or download the PDF, which also contains English translations of the Japanese script in Hosoe’s artworks.

Watch the Hosoe interview

The exhibition Eikoh Hosoe: theatre of memory is realised in collaboration with Studio Equis, France. Hosoe came to the Art Gallery of NSW for the launch. In this video, he discusses his work and inspirations.

Supported by
The Japan Foundation VisAsia Council

12 May – 7 Aug 2011

Free admission

Upper Asian gallery

Download Eikoh Hosoe

Download Eikoh Hosoe (PDF 401.2 KB)