European Eyes on Japan/ Japan Today vol.17
Dita Pepe with Barbora Baronová (Czech Republic) & Max Pinckers (Belgium)
The exhibition project European Eyes on Japan / Japan Today enables many interesting European photographers to integrate those aspects of our lives that we take for granted and often overlook into their work. The project will introduce Japan and Japanese culture outside of the usual stereotypes and preconceptions not just in Europe but in Japan too. Almost sixty European photographers to date have visited Japan under the curatorial supervision of the project’s Artistic Chief Mikiko Kituta and captured life in 36 out of the 47 prefectures through the means of photography.
The Czech photographer Dita Pepe, the literary documentary-maker Barbora Baronová and the Belgian photographer Max Pinckers from Mons participated in the 17th season this year, focusing on the prefecture of Saimata near Tokyo.
For the European Eyes on Japan / Japan Today project, both Czech authors focused on the status of women in Japanese society, mainly the role of unmarried women. The aim was to artistically capture the current social climate in which the clearly defined status of women has been significantly changing, particularly after getting married. The concept focused on recording the feelings and views of both randomly and intentionally selected women between the ages of 19 and 83. The chosen theme and its interpretation are based on the Intimacy Concept currently being developed in the Czech Republic by Dita Pepe a Barbora Baronová.
DITA PEPE with BARBORA BARONOVÀ (Czech Republic)
Born 1973 in Ostrava.
In 2003 she graduated from the Silesian University in Opava where she majored in Creative Photography. Since 1999 she has been working on her most extensive project "Self-portraits" starting with self-portraits with women, later with men and families. Most of the photographs were taken in the Czech Republic, but also in Italy, Germany and this year in South Africa. In cooperation with the literary documentarian Barbora Baronová she successfully published recognized photographic and literary documentary books “Slečny” (Misses) and “Měj ráda sama sebe” (Love Yourself) and the two have been working on their project “Intimita” (Intimacy).
Dita is holder of several Czech and international awards, including Personality of Czech Photography 2012 for the book Autoportréty (Self-portraits). Dita has received a Czech Culture Ministry and Museum of Czech Literature award and an honorable mention in the Art Books Wanted international competition for the publication “Slečny” (The Misses).
Born 1988 in Brussels
Max Pinckers grew up in Indonesia, India, Australia and Singapore. He became acquainted with photography at the age of twelve. In 2006 he returned to his native country to study documentary photography at KASK (Ghent), where he is currently a doctoral researcher. In 2015 he became a Magnum Photos nominee. Since 2011, he has created several series of documentary photographs in countries such as Thailand, India, Japan and Kenya. Every series is turned into a carefully laid out book consisting of interwoven photographs, documents and texts. Not believing in the possibility of sheer objectivity or neutrality, Pinckers advocates a clearly subjective approach, which is made visible through his explicit use of theatrical lighting, stage directions and extras. Extensive research and diligent technical preparation are combined with improvisation to obtain lively, unexpected and critical images that have both a poetic and documentary quality.
ABOUT THE WORK:
In Pinckers’ latest project, Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself , he looks at the strange place Japan holds in the collective mind of the West. Projected as other and isolated, Japan’s unique self-image is in part self-created under the project of nation building, as well as being a construct of outside perspective and popular fetishisation. Japan is a target for Western fantasies, often informed by clichés of barrel chested Yakuza, manicured bonsais, cosplayers, wasted bankers, and sumos. On his arrival to Japan, Pinckers found little evidence of these motifs, and none of these preconceived elements seemed to be the most culturally predominant. This conflicting experience resulted in his search for these constructs within the contemporary Japanese landscape, creating staged scenes influenced by cliché and existing images created by foreigners.
This event is organised as part of Japan Fest 2015.