Notes from Underground: Memories of My Uncle
Opening with the Artist & Performers:
Thursday January 31, 2013
5:30 - 7:30
Kazuo Sumida to be present.
Japanese dancer Nana Miki & French actress/singer Flo Ankah to perform between 6 and 7 pm.
Notes from Underground: Memories of My Uncle by Kazuo Sumida at Laurence Miller Gallery marks the first exhibition of the work in the United States. The series was born from a personal exploration into darkness. After the death of his father, Sumida plunged into period of depression, and like so many turned to the safety of the dark, and the refuge in the night. Working with low-profile equipment, including infrared film and filtered strobe, which emits a flash undetectable by the human eye, Sumida was able to move as a shadow. He began to wander the pleasure district of his home-town of Kochi. Sumida's secretive approach to shooting allowed him to avoid sparking confrontations with local gangs and get close to patrons of downtown establishments. Sumida began to spend more time at a late-night venue, Nobara, a downtown gay bar. There he met his mother's brother, who was a performer at Nobara. Thanks to the protection of his
uncle Sumida was able to work for six years at the bar. These images of the underground are ripe with layers of tension. The works are strange- disturbing but honest, frenzied but compassionate. Our eyes adjust slowly to the dim light and we begin discern the depicted; we encounter figures for whom we can not help but feel a closeness to. The relationship between uncle and nephew manage to emerge in the frames. Figues dance, prep in back rooms, wander towards stage, and sit waiting. There is a heaviness to the work, a thickness to the shadows, but nothing, not even the dark can hide the intimacy between subject and photographer. A final heavy tone is hit as we learn of the uncle's death in 1990; we share the sadness of Sumida and his mother at he uncle's funeral.
For more information, please visit Laurence Miller Gallery
Mention of the exhibition inartdaily