Miyako Yoshinaga is pleased to present its third solo exhibition of Takahiro Kaneyama, featuring 30 images selected from his ongoing color photography series “While Leaves Are Falling….” The exhibition is on view from June 1 to July 8, 2017. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, June 1, from 6pm to 8pm. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
After a five-year hiatus, Takahiro Kaneyama returns to the gallery with his most personal theme to date. Documenting his own family since 1999, Kaneyama’s unpretentious photographs quietly reveal his complex relationship with home and family as he continues to live abroad. His mother, who suffers from schizophrenia, raised him with the aids of his grandmother and his two unmarried aunts. The story he tells with these bravely honest portraits and landscapes resonates both as a personal confession and a meditation on universal aspects of love, depression, and the passage of time.
A resident of New York, Kaneyama returns to Japan often and uses his camera as a witness to the time and space he shares with his mother and aunts. After the loss of his grandmother in 1998, they began traveling together, and on these short domestic trips, he photographed the three women unsmiling and motionless against a scenic landscape. While these family portraits may seem to share the surrealistic tone of Shoji Ueda (1913-2000)’s 1950s family portraits, Kaneyama’s vision is clearly darker and more enigmatic. It also weighs heavily on an acute sensitivity to time (as evidenced in the title of the series), and the photos reveal the growing vulnerability of his subjects, their advancing age, and increasingly limited mobility. His mother alone looks dramatically different with and without makeup, with different hairstyles, and with shifting body weight due to the effect of her medications. While the viewer clearly observes her ups and downs over time, her expressionless visage lingers through the whole series. It is this unavoidable truth and the perfect balance of intimacy and distance that elevate Kaneyama’s autobiographical photo documentary into the realm of art.
Born in Tokyo in 1971, Takahiro Kaneyama studied film and photography at the City College of New York, earned an MFA in Photography and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts and then studied documentary photography at the International Center of Photography. The recipient of several photo awards, Kaneyama has exhibited in Tokyo, Osaka, New York, Milwaukee, and Zurich. Last year, he was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and also completed an artist-in-residence at Light Work, Syracuse, New York. His new book “While Leaves Are Falling…,” published by AKAAKA also last year, is available through this gallery as well as the SF MoMA bookstore. The book, accompanied by an essay by Eric Shiner (Senior Vice President of Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s) has been nominated for two of the most prestigious Japanese photography awards this year. Later in December, his “While Leaves Are Falling” series will be featured in a group exhibition at the recently renovated Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan.