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Hitoshi Fugo: KAMI

April 19 – June 1, 2024

We are pleased to present our final exhibition, KAMI by Hitoshi Fugo, before the gallery closes its door to the public on its 25th anniversary. We will continue representing our artists and further announcements will be made after June.

Japanese photographer Hitoshi Fugo (b. 1947)’s still-life studies explore a single subject’s nuanced multi-faceted expressions until the subject becomes detached from its category, meaning, or identity. He commits to an ongoing experimentation in dismantling these boundaries.

This exhibition features one of his most ambitious yet long-silenced project. In 2001, Fugo began photographing the large burnt paper roll that had been sitting in the corner of his studio for six or seven years. One day around 1993, he walked past a printing factory destroyed by fire and saw cleaning workers leaving half-burnt rolls of paper on the ground. Fugo asked them not to throw them away and later brought them to his studio. The salvaged objects, destroyed by violence (fire) and too chaotic for human control, inspired the artist particularly after witnessing and photographing the aftermath of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995.

Fugo decided to document each stage and progress of destruction, sometimes adding new physical forces such as cutting through a thick wall of paper with a chainsaw, investigating the violence lurking within himself. The result is an unsettling yet fascinating visual rhapsody consisting of 31 black-andwhite images that delves into the essence of paper, with its cut and burnt surfaces powerfully exposed.

In 2023, he attempted to document the end of that life cycle by burning the paper roll again on the shore, imagining its particles flying into the air like feathers peeling away. But this was not possible due to the weather. This series, in which he tries to capture the paper’s transformation by an irresistible external force, was shown only once in Japan in 2001 and has never been shown overseas until now. Paper in Japanese is kami, a homonym of god. The artist gave the title, KAMI, to this body of work, implying the absence of god in today’s destructive world. The exhibition includes 11 images from the series, two of which were photographed in 2023 of the same paper roll.

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Gallery Talk

On the occasion of this Spring’s Madison Avenue Gallery Walk, we were pleased to invite visitors to a walk-through tour by gallery director, Miyako Yoshinaga at 11am and 3pm.

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Joo Myung Duck: Sensory Space in Photography and its Conversation with Korean Abstract Painting

March 8 – April 13, 2024

We are pleased to present Joo Myung Duck: Sensory Space in Photography.  Originally known for social documentaries in his black-and-white photographs, Korean artist Joo Myung Duck (b. 1940) developed a series of densely “black” landscapes in the 1980s and the 1990s. In 2011, at age 71, Joo explored color photography, primarily focusing on the urban locality intertwined with colors, patterns, and textures. In the series, Joo employs close-looking and erases reality through the practice of abstract art to create sensory space. The exhibition also strives to shed light on this master photographer’s relationship with Korean abstract art, particularly, the Dansaekhwa movement and its artists, investigating their shared aesthetic, methodology, and philosophy.

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Talk by Dr. Yuri Doolan

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 6:30pm

During Asia Week New York, we are pleased to host a talk by Dr. Yuri Doolan about his book ‘The First Amerasians,’ which offers a fascinating historical background behind Joo’s Mixed Names series. Dr. Doolan will tell the heartbreaking story of how Americans created and used the concept of the “Amerasian” to remove thousands of mixed-race children from their Korean mothers in US-occupied South Korea to adoptive US homes during the 1950s and 1960s. His talk will explore the Cold War ideologies undergirding this so-called rescue and show how this process of removal and placement via US refugee and adoption laws profoundly shaped the lives of mixed-race Koreans and their mothers. Dr. Doolan is an Assistant Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the inaugural chair of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies Program at Brandeis University.

Please RSVP by emailing [email protected].