New York Photo Review
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Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
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Central Booking Magazine

Tokyo at Night
Emi Anrakuji
A Decent Life
Don Burmeister
Apron 100 by Emi Anrakuji. Source: myartprospects.com
Emi Anrakuji, "Apron 100" 2011

There must be something in the night air in Tokyo. The salarymen have all gone home, but the streets of Sinjuko have started to shimmer. Two old photographers are standing in an alleyway, high-speed film loaded into well-worn cameras. Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki are ready, but cannot press their shutters.

At a street corner, dressed in a loosely fitting white nightgown, a tall woman, 25 years younger than the photographers, has put a camera on a trashcan, set the timer, and quickly run under a light fixture, her figure carefully silhouetted through the thin fabric. She has a mad look on her face as she turns away from the camera, desperately searching the ground for something lost. The old guys stand aghast. They are watching Emi Anrakuji carefully appropriating the ‘male-gaze’ viewpoint of Japanese women that the two photographers cultivated for a generation.

In this, her third show at Miyako Yoshinada Gallery, Emi Anrakuji has expanded on her own earlier work and has taken on a subject that has been emblematic in contemporary Japanese photography – lost, subjugated, eroticized women. In previous shows Anrakuji included a number of self-portraits, often highly charged and close. In this series,however, she steps back and portrays herself as an actor in a harsh and emotionally desolate landscape. The scenes are often in isolated urban environments, and whether they are nightmares or fantasies is never quite clear. In either case the sense of danger is never distant, at times the distinct taste of madness is even felt. You can’t be sure just how far this photographer has gone, or how far she wants to go.

Apron 182 by Emi Anrakuji. Source: myartprospects.com
Emi Anrakuji, "Apron 182" 2011

The prints themselves are dark and crisp, with a sure sense of composition quite distinct from the grainy chaos of the old school. In some of the most engaging images the representational qualities are decidedly secondary to the compositional and tonal ones, and it takes a while to orient oneself in the scene. The show includes both black and white and color work, the colored images subdued and perhaps a little less self assured, calling up resonances that are less focused than those in the black and white.

Whether these images are meant as homage or critique, Anjakuji has successfully turned the tables and transformed the older, second-person view of women as erotic object to create an engaging first person narrative filled with a rich emotional ambiguity.

Emi Anrakuji
A Decent Life


Miyako Yoshinaga Art Prospects
547 W 27th St. 2nd Fl
Chelsea         Map

212 268 7132
myartprospects.com

Thursday, September 8 to
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11 to 6
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
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Soho Photo Gallery