Born in 1933, Eikoh Hosoe spent his childhood in a Japan destroyed by war. The avant-garde photographers of his generation, torn between nationalist authoritarianism and the opening of an equally seductive vanquishing West, in one way or another, witnessed everything from the collapsing of traditions to the Japanese millennial supremacy.
Their emancipation came through their gathering in collectives such as Jūninno-Me in 1956-57 and VIVO at the beginning of the 1960s, but equally through numerous interdisciplinary exchanges. Following his meet-up with the charismatic theatre creator Butoh Tatsumi Hijikata, Hosoe became known from 1961 for his superbly crafted book – Man and Woman – which transcends the boundaries of erotic art through its graphic over dramatization. Then, in 1963, Hosoe created the album Barakei – Killed by Roses with Yukio Mishima which put the scandalous author in the spotlight and lifted the photographer to immediate international notoriety.
“My ideal artist – modern or contemporary – is an artist who has a real political or sociological intention concerning the preoccupations of their era and who is successful in doing so by innovatively creating a discernible piece of work”, says art dealer Eric Mouchet.
In Barakei, Mishima, always stripped bare, is alternatively captured in the kitschy gold setting of his home in Tokyo and in Hijikata’s deserted dance studio. The other shots pay tribute to his love for European Renaissance painting, and, in particular his very sensual iconography of the martyr Saint Sebastian.
Barakei is an erotic and morbid fable that is well known due to its provocative allusion to Mishima’s homosexuality and the despair of an immensly erudite author who refused the decline of his country and of his body. Barakei is incontestably Eikoh Hosoe’s masterpiece.
Eikoh Hosoe, Barakei
Portrait de Yukio Mishima
October 27 to December 23, 2016
Galerie Eric Mouchet
45 Rue Jacob