Kazuyoshi Usui - Photographs London Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Phillips
  • Literature

    K. Usui, Showa88, Zen Foto Gallery, 2011, p. 33

  • Catalogue Essay

    When Kazuyoshi Usui photographed a group of Japanese butoh dancers in the guise of thugs in 2009, he was portraying an alternative, imagined Japan, built around the question, ‘If the Showa period had continued until today, what kind of Japan would we see?’ The Japanese imperial calendar is based on the reign of the current emperor and although the Showa period (1926-1989) ended in its 64th year, Usui’s fictional narrative takes place in the 88th year of the Showa period.

    Published in 2013, his series Showa88 shuffles the past, present and future, blurring the line between fiction and reality, familiar and uncanny, East and West, good and bad taste. His works have been exhibited internationally and are held in various collections, including the Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics and the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts.



Bōzu [Thugs] from Showa88

Chromogenic print, flush-mounted.
Image: 99.7 x 77.4 cm (39 1/4 x 30 1⁄2 in.)
Frame: 131 x 108.5 cm (51 5⁄8 x 42 3⁄4 in.)

Signed in Japanese in ink, printed title, date and number AP1 on a gallery label affixed to the reverse of the frame.

This work is AP1 from the sold-out edition of 3 + 2 AP.

£4,000 - 6,000 

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Genevieve Janvrin
Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7318 4092


London Auction 19 May 2016