Yukihito Masuura first became enchanted by photography at the age of twelve. Having moved to France when he was eighteen, he soon became an assistant to Guy Bourdin for Vogue Paris. In his quest for creative and spiritual perfection, he was drawn to Buddhist sculpture and the masterworks of Western artists like Aristide Maillol (1861-1944), Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), and Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564).
This exhibition introduces some of Yukihito Masuura's works in his eight-year quest to capture Michelangelo's sculptural oeuvre and the bronze works of Rodin and Bourdelle. Masuura has also documented the ceremonial practices of Sengu in Japan, such as the restoration of Japan's most revered Shinto locations: Ise Jingu and Izumo Taisha. The events only occur at twenty- and sixty-year intervals respectively. Masuura skilfully captured the divine essence through the climactic Senzasai ceremonies at Ise and Izumo, which both took place in 2013. The Christian and Shinto images exhibited here explore the relationship between religion and art, and juxtapose the quintessential cultures of the West and Japan.
"The art of sculpture photography is to let the sculpture speak. My photography made Bourdelle's works move and Rodin's spin. In retrospect the crying agony of the images might have been a reflection of my personal struggles around that time. I used only my camera and natural light in dark churches. When I had almost given up hope, the light played a miracle each time and produced three providential works. Through photography I discovered the existence of the 'Invisible World'. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to record Sengu shrine restoration and ceremonies - a culture symbolising Japanese spirituality. This exhibition is to express my wishes for a peaceful world." - Yukihito Masuura
Yukihito Masuura has exhibited worldwide, gaining international recognition for his photographs of classical art and places of cult. In 1987 he was awarded the prestigious Salon d'Automne for his photographic series of the works of the French sculptor Aristide Maillol. In 1997 he was commissioned by the Musée Rodin to photograph the sculptures in their collection. In 2003, he inaugurated GENESIS, the first show dedicated to his photographs of Michelangelo’s sculptures, at Casa Buonarroti, Florence, known as the “Michelangelo Museum”. Later in the year, a second GENESIS exhibition was held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. In 2014, four works of the Kaminomiya series were presented to Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan. His work has been exhibited at or presented to: Musée du Louvre; Musée d'Orsay; Guimet Museum; Musée Rodin; Musée Maillol; Bourdelle Museum, Paris; the National Library of France; Casa Buonarroti, Florence; and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo.