MASAHISA FUKASE: Solitude of Ravens

24 Feb - 23 Apr 2016


    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

  • The Top 6 Art Exhibitions to see in London this week

    The Top 6 Art Exhibitions to see in London this week

    Tabish Khan, FAD online April 17, 2016

    Masahisa Fukase: The Solitude of Ravens @ Michael Hoppen Gallery

    Beautifully composed, and often abstract, black and white photography. Ravens feature to insert a sense of foreboding into these pseudo-apocalyptic visions. Until 23 April.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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