Masahisa Fukase



    By Clementine Mercier and Elisabeth Franck-Dumas, Libération November 11, 2017

    Standstill on stand at the Grand Palais on the occasion of the 21st edition of the International Photography Fair.

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    Clémentine Mercier, LIBÉRATION July 6, 2017

    The Japanese artist died in 2012 after twenty years of coma is famous for his very melancholy photos of crows. In Arles, "The incurable egoist" honors his other facet, lighter and colorful, based on cats.

  • Arles 2017 – “Photography as an experience” themed visit

    Arles 2017 – “Photography as an experience” themed visit

    Arthur Dayras, L'oeil de la photographie July 5, 2017

    Over the past few years, Les Rencontres d’Arles have been on the forefront of contemporary photography. The 2017 edition doesn’t miss a beat, and the program offers interested visitors an insightful overview of innovative, original photographic practices. L’Oeil de la Photographie invites you to spend a day meandering through the shaded maze of the streets of Arles exploring the exhibitions.


    ... Round the corner, you can step into the Archbishop’s Palace and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring oeuvre of Masahisa Fukase with his first European retrospective. The Japanese photographer’s raw compositions, in which performance and theater play a key role, attest to the extreme originality of his photographic practice. Fukase works in both black and white and in color, with original prints, magazine covers, as well as calligraphy. His photography is potent and groundbreaking.



    James Cave, Feature Shoot July 5, 2017

    Any artist with a muse understands this person’s importance in their creative process. And if that muse is your wife, for example, the connection becomes all the more complex.


    But what do you do if your muse leaves you, divorces you, breaks off the relationship? If you’reMasahisa Fukase, you channel your ensuing grief into your work and produce what would later become known as one of the most important photobooks of a generation....




    Michael Hoppen Gallery represents the Masahisa Fukase estate

  • Photo London week: new edition of Ravens by Masahisa Fukase

    Photo London week: new edition of Ravens by Masahisa Fukase

    Diane Smyth, British Journal of Photography May 17, 2017

    It's tipped as the best photobook of all time, and now MACK has published a new version of Fukase's dark journey.

  • REVIEW: Masahisa Fukase

    REVIEW: Masahisa Fukase

    SIMON BOWCOCK, FRIEZE online March 31, 2016

    ‘The Solitude of Ravens’, by the late Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase, is an expressive metaphor of almost unmitigated dark. Shot between 1975 and 1982, ‘Ravens’ stands as a requiem for Fukase’s marriage to Yōko Wanibe. It is bookended by his two other most significant projects, both of which are also currently on show in London (as part of the group exhibition ‘Performing for the Camera’ at Tate Modern). ‘From Window’ (1974), a series of ‘straight’ photographs of Yōko, speaks eloquently of the highs and lows of their marriage and its break-up. By contrast 1991’s ‘Bukubuku’ (Bubbling) is a heavily claustrophobic, often surreal, set of self-portraits, which Fukase made in the bath after learning his ex-wife was to remarry. While all three bodies of work successfully convey Fukase’s feelings towards Yōko, it is ‘Ravens’, on display at Michael Hoppen Gallery, which is his masterpiece.

  • Hyperallergic Online - 'Solitude of Ravens'

    Hyperallergic Online - 'Solitude of Ravens'

    Tiernan Morgan, Hyperallergic online March 4, 2016

    Vintage prints from Masahisa Fukase‘s Solitude of Ravens (1976–82) series went on display for the first time in the UK. The Japanese photographer began the project in the wake of his divorce from Yōko Wanibe. Fukase’s print publication of the series, Karasu (“Ravens”), was voted the best photobook published between 1986 and 2009 by the British Journal of Photography, sparking a resurgence of interest in the photographer’s work.

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  • Top 5 things to do this weekend

    Top 5 things to do this weekend

    Aesthetica Mag, Online March 4, 2016

    Masahisa Fukase, Solitude of RavensMichael Hoppen Gallery, London


    Regarded by many as the most important body of work to come out of post-war Japan, Fukase’s Karasu (‘Ravens’) was made between 1975-82 in the wake of the artist’s divorce. The recurrent presence of ravens sets the ominous tone, and appear dead or alive, alone or in flocks, interjected with other subjects such as blizzard-streaked streets or the form of a nude masseuse. Inherently abstract, the project has been further interpreted as a commentary upon Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, but the photographs always speak of a deep personal lament infused with loneliness and introspection.

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  • Amuse - A New old work by Masahisa Fukase

    Amuse - A New old work by Masahisa Fukase

    Amuse, Online March 2, 2016

    The Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase had just finished his latest series in the early 90s when he fell down the stairs of a bar in Tokyo. The accident sent Masahisa into a coma that lasts until his death in 2012 and the tragedy lead to a somewhat stalled reputation in the art world. His series, ‘Hibi’, was shown once back then, and will be on reshown to the world at this week’s fair.

    Twelve works from “Hibi” will be at the Michael Hoppen Gallery booth (number 124).

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  • Masahisa Fukase's Hibi photographs

    Masahisa Fukase's Hibi photographs

    HATTIE CRISELL, New York Times Style Magazine March 1, 2016

    The series showing at the Armory examines road surfaces in disrepair — “Hibi” translates as “crack.” Unlike Fukase’s better-known photographs, these prints are hand-painted in a vibrant palette of greens, pinks, yellows and blues. The paint application is wildly varied: It is flicked across some images and washed over others. In some instances, the artist has used color to pick out fissures in the road, or water glistening at the edge of a puddle. His own fingerprint appears on several prints, red and incongruous, like a signature.

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  • Masahisa Fukase and the sorrow of lost love, solitude and death

    Masahisa Fukase and the sorrow of lost love, solitude and death

    JESSICA KLINGELFUSS, Wallpaper* February 25, 2016

    Masahisa Fukase's sorrow seeps through his later photographs like a poison: painful, suffocating, and all consuming. For eight years, the Japanese photographer obsessively captured ravens in his native Hokkaido, vainly seeking an antidote to the venom of a failed marriage.


    His second wife and muse Yōko left him in 1976, and a mournful Fukase careened into a crippling depression. Drinking heavily, the photographer found refuge in the birds that flocked around his local train station. Published in 1986, the photobook Ravens (or Karasu) was born from his heartbreak. Now, a rare collection of prints from this seminal series has been unveiled in a new exhibition opening this week at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London.


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  • Masahisa Fukase: Ravens

    Masahisa Fukase: Ravens

    Time Out, London February 22, 2016

    Fukase is a photographer best known for focusing obsessively on his wife. After she left him, he switched to photographing ravens, with a similar obsession, to symbolise his grief at the breakdown of the relationship. These works come from that series, ‘Solitude of Ravens’ (1986), which in 2010 was voted the best photobook of the past 25 years.

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  • In Pictures: Solitude of Ravens

    In Pictures: Solitude of Ravens

    Phil Coomes, BBC News February 22, 2016

    Masahisa Fukase's Solitude of Ravens is at first glance a tough set of pictures to look at. The stark black and white frames pull you into a filmic world of nightmares and never-ending gloom.


    Yet stick with it, and though you will find the collection packs a powerful emotional punch, it also shows how a photograph can speak about far more than what it depicts.


    The work was created between 1976 and 1982 following Fukase's divorce, and it is perhaps that little fact that can change how you read these images. They are dark and mysterious, yet this is a personal statement of loss.


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  • Snapshot: ‘Solitude of Ravens’ by Masahisa Fukase

    Snapshot: ‘Solitude of Ravens’ by Masahisa Fukase

    Elsa Court, FT online February 19, 2016

    The Japanese photographer’s dark and haunting series is a chronicle of emptiness and obsession

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  • Brilliant Things To Do in February

    Brilliant Things To Do in February

    AnOther Magazine February 1, 2016

    Masahisa Fukase: Solitude Of Ravens: February 24 – April 23, 2016 
    A painful divorce inspired Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase’s work, on display at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London later this month. Solitude of Ravens, the artist’s first UK exhibition, is an ensemble of vintage and early prints created between 1976 and 1982, conveying new ideas about darkness and grief through anthropomorphic representations of the raven. Fukase expressed towards the end of the project that he himself had "become a raven" – an idea even more poignant given that, at times in the series, the animal is reduced to nothing more than a shadow.

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    Tate Online January 27, 2016

    From marketing and self-promotion, to the investigation of gender and identity, to experiments with the self-portrait, Performing for the Camera brings together over 500 images shown in series, including vintage prints, large scale works, marketing posters and artists working with Instagram. It is a wide-ranging exploration of how performance artists use photography and how photography is in itself a performance.


    'Performing for the Camera'

    18 February – 12 June 2016

    TATE MODERN, London



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  • Was this Japanese photographer the ultimate selfie master?

    Was this Japanese photographer the ultimate selfie master?

    Ashleigh Kane, Dazed magazine November 13, 2015

    Half-submerged in his bathtub, Masahisa Fukase channelled heartbreak into this poignant series of self-portraits.


    On the surface, Masahisa Fukase's Bukubuku might feel like a humorous – albeit dark – take on the self portrait. Playing around in the bathtub, even the book’s title is an homage to the noise of blowing bubbles. However, delving deeper into his biography, the black and white images of the Japanese photographer, taken in 1991, alone and submerged in his bathtub are symbolic of the isolation and loneliness he felt at the time. Once a primary focus of his work, his marriage to second wife Yōko Wanibe – which he previously reflected on in his seminal work Karasu (translating to Ravens) – had broken down, his father had passed away and his business had failed.


    "he saw this very much as a performance piece of work and was shaped by Fukase as an introspective and mournful soliloquy to his ex-wife Yoko, just after he learnt that she had gotten remarried.” - Michael Hoppen

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  • At Paris Photo, a Wide-Ranging Mix

    At Paris Photo, a Wide-Ranging Mix

    HATTIE CRISELL, NYT Magazine November 12, 2015

    Never before exhibited outside of Japan, the postwar photographer’s bathtub self-portraits were taken over a two-month period in 1991 and published in his last-ever photobook. Bukubuku translates as “bubbling”; the images show Fukase in muddy black and white, half- or entirely submerged in water, playing with reflections and refractions of light. They’re by turns witty, melancholy and ominous; the series is photographic performance art at its most intimate. (It will also be shown at the Tate Modern in 2016.)

  • Masahisa Fukase: the man who photographed nothing but his wife

    Masahisa Fukase: the man who photographed nothing but his wife

    Sean O' Hagen, The Guardian July 13, 2015

    Masahisa Fukase is best known for his photobook The Solitude of Ravens, which was published in 1986. In 2010, a panel of experts voted it the best photobook of the last 25 years. Like all of Fukase’s work, it’s a stark book that reflects his melancholic and obsessive nature. The ravens, photographed in flight or resting on branches in grainy monochrome, are symbols of his grief at the breakdown of his marriage to his beloved second wife, Yoko.


    Yoko is also the subject of a fascinating series called From Window that Fukase made in 1974. It is currently on show at Les Rencontres d’Arles as part of Another Language, an illuminating group exhibition of eight Japanese photographers curated by the Tate’s Simon Baker. The work has never been shown in Europe before and includes well known photographers like Daido Moriyama and Eikoh Hosoe as well as trailblazing newcomers like Daisuke Yokota and Sakiko Nomura.

  • Flying solo: Ravens by photographer Masahisa Fukase

    Flying solo: Ravens by photographer Masahisa Fukase

    Guardian Online May 24, 2010

    24 May 2010: 'The depth of solitude in these photographs makes me shudder,' runs the afterword to Ravens, a little-known photobook by Japanese artist Masahisa Fukase. Full of darkness and foreboding, the British Journal of Photography has nevertheless named it the best photobook of the past 25 years



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