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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist, 2007

  • Exhibited

    The History of Japanese Photography, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2 March - 27 April 2003; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 25 May - 27 July 2003, another

  • Literature

    I. Suda, Fūshi Kaden, Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1978, pl. 67
    Eleven Photographers in Japan 1965-75, Yamaguchi: Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum, 1989, p. 116
    A. Tucker et al., The History of Japanese Photography, Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2003, p. 258, pl. 178
    I. Suda, 1975 Miuramisaki,Tokyo: Akio Nagasawa, 2012, n.p.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1967, Issei Suda began his career as stage-photographer for the theatre troupe Tenjō Sajiki, founded by Japanese avant-garde luminary Shūji Terayama. From 1971 to 1977, Suda moved away from his commercial work and immersed himself in Fūshi Kaden, a personal project, for which he travelled throughout Japan and captured – within the square frame of his favoured 6x6 Hasselblad camera – what renowned curator Shōji Yamajishi referred to as ‘things that lie just below the surface of a modernized Japan, evoking nostalgia and a feeling for the past.’ Fushi Kaden, translated as ‘transmission of the flower of acting style’, is taken from the 15th-century treatise from Zeami, Japanese philosopher and playwright, on the principles of classical Noh theatre. Suda responded to this text by seeking to reveal an underlying sense of mystery in his scenes of everyday life. This is most evident in the present photograph of a head-less snake writhing upwards along a wooden wall of a shrine, which was taken by Suda moments after he had encountered a couple of children teasing the snake and had set it free.

    Suda’s seminal series Fūshi Kaden was serialised in Camera Mainichi in 1975-1977, exhibited for the first time at Nikon Salon in Tokyo and Osaka in 1977 and published as a book in 1978. In the following year, Suda was one of the 18 Japanese photographers selected for the exhibition Japan: A Self-Portrait, curated by Yamagishi and Cornell Capa and held at the International Center for Photography in New York.

    Suda has been the recipient of many Japanese awards, including the Domon Ken Award in 1997. His work has been widely exhibited since 1977, including his most recent museum retrospective at Tokyo’s Metropolitan Museum of Photography in 2013, and resides in many prominent institutions, including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; SFMOMA and the J. Paul Getty Museum, which has the largest museum holding of his work.



神奈川三浦三崎 Miuramisaki, Kanagawa from 風姿花伝 Fūshi Kaden, 2 June

Gelatin silver print.
Image: 22 x 21.7 cm (8 5/8 x 8 1/2 in.)
Sheet: 30.8 x 25.2 cm (12 1/8 x 9 7/8 in.)

Credited in rōmaji with copyright symbol and numbered ‘19’ in pencil on the verso.

As of this writing, this work is one of only five known early prints of this image. The others are held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum and privately. SFMOMA holds a later print.

£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £10,000

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London Auction 25 September 2020