Performing for the Camera

Masahisa Fukase's 'Bukubuku' to go on display at the Tate Modern

 Masahisa Fukase’s unique series Bukubuku will be part of Tate Modern’s new exhibition ‘Performing for the Camera’.


Serious performance art, portraiture, or just simply posing for the camera? What does is it mean to perform for the camera? 


Photography has been used to capture performances since its invention – from the stars of the Victorian stage to the art happenings of the 1960s, and today’s trend for selfies. 


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.


The remarkable set of prints on display here Bukubuku (Bubbling) are the last series Fukase completed and exhibited before the debilitating fall which left him in a coma for 20 years and later cost him his life. The series is made up of 79 self-portraits made in the bathtub with a waterproof camera and was last shown at “Shikei (Private View) ‘92’” (February 1992), with the prints pinned to the wall in an installation minded trilogy along with Berobero (Sucking) and Hibi (Fractures). Regarded as Fukase’s last great work, Bukubuku has been described as ‘a whimsical if somewhat morbid game of solitaire that charts new territory for the photographic self-portrait,’ a visualisation of madness and death.


Michael Hoppen Gallery represents the Masahisa Fukase Archive.

18 February – 12 June 2016
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