Kazuyoshi Usui - Photographs London Wednesday, May 17, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    K. Usui, Showa88, Tokyo: Zen Foto Gallery, 2011, cover and frontispiece

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘In preparation for the 2020 Olympics, Japan is becoming increasingly sterile,’ comments Kazuyoshi Usui, ‘and emphasis is placed on presenting Tokyo as a super-clean, super-safe city.’ Usui’s Japan as portrayed in his series Showa88 is full of conflicts and contradictions. Although the Shōwa period ended in its 64th year (1989) with the death of the previous emperor, Usui’s fictional narrative takes place in the 88th year of Shōwa. Shuffling the past, present and future, he blurs the line between real and fake, familiar and uncanny, East and West, good and bad.

    White Roses, the present work, was taken in Tobita Shinchi, Osaka’s red-light district, inside one of many brothels whose rickety wooden exterior has not changed since post-war times. From the white roses and vase to the bamboo and bright pink interior, Usui captures ‘conflicting beauty’ in this one photograph, which he selected as the cover image of his photobook Showa88 (2011). Usui’s work has been exhibited internationally and is held in various collections, including Tokyo Polytechnic University and Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Yamanashi.



White Roses from Showa88

Archival pigment print, flush-mounted.
Image: 100 x 80 cm (39 3/8 x 31 1/2 in.)
Frame: 130 x 107 cm (51 1/8 x 42 1/8 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 

Sold for £8,750

Contact Specialist
Genevieve Janvrin
Co-Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7901 7996

Yuka Yamaji
Co-Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7318 4098


London Auction 18 May 2017