AD galerie, switzerland
on from november 8th to november 11th, 2012
california-based japanese artist hiroshi watanabe will be showing his latest work at AD galerie as part of the zurich international
contemporary art fair running from november 8th through to november 11th, 2012. watanabe is well known for creating whimsically
esoteric photographic portraiture - the content of each series powerfully reflecting upon aspects regarding ritual, people, place and culture.
in one of the collections watanabe explored a theatrical tradition dating back to the 17th century known as ‘kabuki’.
this series depicts authentic traditional localized groups active various parts of japan - defined by heavy makeup and elaborate garments,
watanabe playfully photographs the actors dressed as bunnies, shogun warriors and geishas. though each figure seems so heavily
disguised by the costumes - one seems to be able to gain intimate insight through watanabe’s representation of each character -
freezing time to preserve a moment unique against all others.
apart from being black and white, all of watanabe’s are unified by a common aesthetic - a spectral haziness - as if the image has
been taken with a veil in front the camera lens. this eeriness is complemented by the arresting subjects of each artwork -
all images taken with a medium format camera and processed in a traditional dark room using gelatin-silver materials.
the work is testament to a skill that is able to capture and effectively communicate a concentrated emotional essence specific to each image,
telling a story that could not be told otherwise.