On September 30, 2016, the solo exhibition of the Japanese photographer “Hiroji Kubota: The Story of Looking” opened at the CAFA Art Museum. The exhibition was organized by the CAFA Art Museum, and Director Wang Huangsheng serves as the exhibition director with associate research fellow Dr. Cai Meng serving as the curator.
It is the second time for Hiroji Kubota to hold a solo exhibition in China, the first one was held 31 years ago. It is noteworthy that, The Story of Looking has never used the traditional sense of color photographs, black and white photographs are also in the show, also showcased are the platinum photos which are made of black and white film by the artist from 1963 to 1989, as well as the color photos taken from 1978 to 2003 and produced through a dye transfer process, a total of more than 100 pieces of work are on show.
At the opening ceremony, Director Wang Huangsheng said that, “Japanese photographer Hiroji Kubota was an old friend of the Chinese people, and his photography has had a significant impact on the Chinese photography industry.” After the “April Photography Association” was vigorously developed, “Hiroji Kubota’s Exhibition in China” opened at the National Art Museum of China on January 15, 1981, the documentary style of the artist greatly inspired the young photographers who were of a salon-style so they changed their style and began to observe society. From 1978 to 1985, Hiroji Kubota finished the shooting and reporting of all the provinces of China, and took more than 200,000 photos, and the “China – Photographic Exhibition of Hiroji Kubota” was held at the National Art Museum of China again in March 1985. Since then, the “China” exhibition has been shown at a number of important museums in the United States, Japan, Europe, while the portfolio entitled “China” was translated into 7 different languages for publication.
Kubota talked about his relationship with China at the opening ceremony. He met with Premier Zhou Enlai following the introduction of Minamimura, and succeeded in reaching every province of China to photograph, with the help of Premier Zhou. Since 1978, Kubota visited China more than 50 times in the following 20 years, and published the “Dream of Guilin”, “Mount Huangshan Wonderland” and other Chinese photographic albums.
Hiroji Kubota graduated from the Department of Political Economy at Waseda University. After graduation, he went to New York, determined to become a photographer. In 1965, after staying in Chicago for a period of time, he moved back to New York to become a freelance photographer, there he made a detailed report of the “New York Special Education Program” and began cooperating with the Magnum Photos, to become the first Asian member of the famous Magnum Photos. He also joined Magnum in 1971, as the only Japanese photographer. Kubota, who graduated with a specialty in politics, has a keen political sense of smell and a sharp social perspective, from recording the Civil Rights Movement in the USA to the Vietnam War, from the recording of huge changes in China, exclusively reporting the problems of North Korea, to photographing his beloved homeland of Japan, Kubota and his camera have witnessed many significant changes in the world in the last fifty years.
The exhibition continues to October 30.
Text by Lin Jiabin, Photo by Hu Sichen/CAFA ART INFO
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO