Press Release: "ANGELA REYNOLDS WEARS VALENTINO, LANDSCAPES WITH A CORPSE", 2013 (engl.)
For its fourth exhibition in Sankt-Apern-Strasse, the Van der Grinten Galerie is showing a new series by the Japanese photographer Izima Kaoru (*1954). The exhibition title “Angela Reynolds Wears Valentino” is, at the same time, the title of his recent cycle from the series “Landscapes with a Corpse”, to which the artist has devoted himself since 1993.
In view of the countless exhibitions and participations by Izima Kaoru over the past 10 years (Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden, Kunsthalle Wien, Musée d’Art Moderne Gran-Duc Jean Luxemburg, museum voor moderne kunst Arnhem, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, as well as many gallery exhibits in Paris, London, New York and Cologne), it is hardly necessary to introduce the concept of his serial work. Izima Kaoru has his models—among whom are renowned models and actresses—invent a fictional story of their decease, which he then translates photographically into elaborate productions. He approaches the deceased—in their splendid robes by Dior, Vivienne Westwood or Prada and their perfect beauty—from a painterly long shot all the way to a close-up. The enigmatic and aesthetic brilliance lend the, by now, over 50 series their bewitching beauty.
In this way, not only a play on fashion photography unfolds, but above all an artistic engagement with the themes of Eros and Thanatos.
On the gallery’s ground floor, the 51st series “Angela Reynolds Wears Valentino” is presented, for the first time outside of Japan. The work consists of five monumental, vertical-format photos—a triptych and two single pictures—that allude to the traditional forms of old Japanese script and picture scrolls (emakimono) and folding screens.
He created the series in 2011/2012 as a commission for the Art Museum of the city of Toyota. The exceptional natural phenomenon of white cherry blossoms that bloom at the same time in November as maple leaves turn red—only found in the Toyota region—has become a breathtaking ornamental and colorful motif in the hands of the artist via his aesthetic vocabulary. The poetic dimension is augmented further by the story that lies behind the staging: The Japanese legend of celestial beings (tennyo), court ladies of the emperor in heaven, are able to fly thanks to their feathery robes. One of them is robbed of her clothes and cannot return to heaven. She marries a man and spends her life on earth, where a human fate awaits her…
On the gallery’s upper floor, a display of earlier works from the series “Landscapes with a Corpse” and “One Sun” are presented.
Everyday at 1pm and 3pm, documentary films and interviews on Kaoru’s work will be shown.
Van der Grinten Galerie has worked together with Izima Kaoru since 1999.
The large monograph, Landscapes with a Corpse, was issued by Hantje Cantz publishers in 2009 and can be purchased at the gallery for the price of € 68.
Van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne, 2013