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Ippodo Gallery-Synthesis II Exhibition

Kenji Wakasugi, Sanctuary (detail), 2021, photograph of washi mounted screen, 23 5/8 x 33 1/2 in.

Synthesis II Exhibition: “Adore” Madonna and Fusuma
Photography by Kenji Wakasugi
December 3, 2021-January 11, 2022
Opening Reception: Friday, December 3, 5-8pm
Book Signing: Saturday, December 4, 3-5pm
Ippodo Gallery, 32 E. 67th St., 3rd Floor, New York
Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm and Saturday, 11am-5:30pm

A sequel to Synthesis, Wakasugi’s inaugural exhibition at Ippodo Gallery in 2016, Synthesis II highlights the artist’s exploration of photography inspired by traditional ink-painting. The show will also feature individual prints and a limited second edition publication of the photo book ADORE from his 1985 photoshoot with Madonna, published by Nick Groarke, NJG Studio in London.

Juxtaposed to works emphasizing traditional styles and architecture are Wakasugi’s images of Madonna, demonstrating a vivid sense of modernity and nostalgia for the late 20th century. Taken during a 45-minute photoshoot, Wakasugi captures the then 27-year old Madonna promoting her album Like A Virgin wearing clothes by Jean Paul Gaultier, as well as numerous crucifixes and rosaries. Transcending typical fashion photography, Wakasugi’s portraiture focuses on Madonna’s facial expressions and gestures to reveal the superstar’s stunning sincerity.

Wakasugi uses an array of modern and traditional techniques, such as digital manipulation and the application of gold leaf and his ink-wash painting or calligraphy, to further alter his photography. Emphasizing his range of styles and influences, Wakasugi mounts his paintings using Western-style framing and hanging scrolls or fusuma sliding doors.

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Kenji Wakasugi, Madonna_14, 2021, Photography, Small (Edition 15), 22 x 17 in.