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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Naked Tokyo

Naked Tokyo

Naked Tokyo.Naked Tokyo is pretty straightforward. It is a photographic exhibition featuring nakedness that happens mainly in Tokyo. Yesterday evening, 14 May, was Naked Tokyo, Part 4, and it took place in Super Deluxe in Roppongi, an underground event space only a minute’s walk east of Roppongi Hills.

I spoke to organizer, Tim Porter, also a renowned photographer (although not represented there last night). Under the auspices of curator Kanji Embutsu, he and a team of five others – including three of the evening’s exhibitors – brought the event to life. And life, not why it is lived, but how, is – Tim Porter stressed to me – what the show is all about.

Life as performance was the theme of co-producer Mumi Trabucco’s works which featured portraits of the renowned Tokyo performance artist Barae whose face was a fascinating mixture of supplication, ecstasy and contemplation.

Fellow co-producer LeRoy Howard’s work was similarly dramatic but in a way that explored the dramas people are driven, rather than seemingly choose, to play. His subject was a naked man who, superimposed, appeared in different postures and expressions as three people in the same frame. The theme was the life of Jesus and featured critical moments of the story of the end of his life.

Super Deluxe, Roppongi, Tokyo.Exhibition designer Frank LaRivière’s work evoked the idealized contours and the depersonalization of science, with eerily perfect pallid headless bodies duplicated and joined to themselves in perfect endless symmetry.

My personal favorite was the humid, deep-rainbow, unpin-downable movement of Barbara Flatten’s work that honored the mysterious and unknowable about other people while acknowledging at the same time the deep desire to build stories around them, however ineffable they might be.

Bonnie Bajaj shot life as something lived at night – beautifully and dangerously, in rich deep renaissance colors, and postures that invoked desire and the proximity of death.

There were eleven other photographers’ works displayed around the walls and on a slideshow that dominated the center. By about 7pm the space had filled up, the bar got busy, titillated not only by the naked windows to life on the walls but by the very cool sounds of the DJs who softly spun the night away.

Naked Tokyo did what it implicitly promised: showed me more of Tokyo, and the people who make it, than I normally get to see. Forthright, friendly, nakedly modest – keep on eye on what's on to make sure you catch the next one.

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