Takuma NAKAHIRA, Franz K. Prichard

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"Takuma NAKAHIRA, one of the most legendary photographers of post-war Japan and a life-long rival of Daido MORIYAMA. 'Overflow' is the first photobook in which his installation work comes alive in entirety and detail since its unveiling in 1974.

Takuma NAKAHIRA’s series Overflow was originally presented as an installation during the 1974 exhibition Fifteen Photographers Today (National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo). The work consisted of 48 color photographs that were arranged on a wall 6 meters wide and 1.6 meters high.

The photobook 'Overflow' is the first chance to view NAKAHIRA’s astonishing series outside the context of an exhibition.
The photographs show elements of a city — eery rifts in a space overflowing with objects, commodities and information — that NAKAHIRA encountered and captured in his everyday life, from ivy creeping across walls and manhole covers in the streets to the tire of a large truck, from a pale-bellied shark floating in the transparent darkness behind the glass of an aquarium to close-up shots of a subway station.

The photobook’s layout strictly mimics each photo’s position in the installation piece in order to replicate the series’ original experience within the confines of a book.
Additionally, Princeton University assistant professor Franz K. PRICHARD contributes an extensive essay in which he compares the Overflow series with NAKAHIRA’s vision of an ‘illustrated dictionary’ (as outlined in NAKAHIRA’s 1973 essay ‘Why an Illustrated Botanical Dictionary?’), thereby offering a deep exploration of Takuma NAKAHIRA, who integrated praxis and theory in his work like no one else." (publisher's note)

"‘Overflow compels us as viewers to see the interplay of a seemingly random distribution of fragments, surfaces and residues. And in so doing, we are made to sense the undifferentiated enumeration of parts of an incomplete whole. This is, if you recall, the definition of the “illustrated dictionary” form that Nakahira provided in the essay “Why an Illustrated Botanical Dictionary?”’ (Franz K. PRICHARD in his essay)


About the photographer, Takuma NAKAHIRA (1938-2015):
Takuma NAKAHIRA was born in Tokyo; he graduated from the Spanish Department of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, then entered a publishing company where he worked for the magazine Contemporary Eye.

From the mid-1960s, NAKAHIRA began publishing essays on photography and film in various magazines and started taking photographs around the same time.
Together with Koji TAKI, Yutaka TAKAHASHI, and Takahiko OKADA, he co-founded the quarterly magazine Provoke, subtitled ‘Provocative Materials for Thought’ (Daido MORIYAMA contributed to the second and third issues).

Provoke’s grainy, blurry and unfocused photographs were in contrast to established aesthetic conventions and had a strong impact on Japan’s photographic scene.

After the publication of his photobook 'For a Language to Come,' NAKAHIRA examined his own photography in the 1973 essay collection 'Why an Illustrated Botanical Dictionary?'.
Immediately after the publication of his seminal book 'Duel on Photography' which coupled NAKAHIRA's essays with photographs by Kishin SHINOYAMA, in November 1977 NAKAHIRA was struck by an illness that brought him close to death.

Suffering memory loss and aphasia, NAKAHIRA gradually recovered and began taking photographs again.
In 2003, the large-scale retrospective NAKAHIRA Takuma: Degree Zero-Yokohama was held at the Yokohama Museum of Art with more than 800 photographs taken between his formative early years up until 2003, putting NaAKAHIRA’s back into the spotlight.

NAKAHIRA continued taking photographs up until his death in 2015.
2017 saw exhibitions of NAKAHIRA’s work at the Art Institute of Chicago ('Circulation') and Taipei (Takuma NAKAHIRA) as well as numerous publications of his photography and writing.

"Takuma NAKAHIRA war einer der legendärsten Fotografen des Nachkriegs-Japans und ein lebenslanger Rivale von Daido MORIYAMA. 'Overflow' ist das erste Fotobuch, in dem seine Installationsarbeiten seit ihrer Enthüllung im Jahr 1974 in vollem Umfang und Detail lebendig werden.

Takuma NAKAHIRAs Serie Overflow wurde ursprünglich als Installation während der Ausstellung Fifteen Photographers Today (National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo) von 1974 präsentiert.
Die Arbeit bestand aus 48 Farbfotografien, die an einer 6 Meter breiten und 1,6 Meter hohen Wand angeordnet waren.

Das Fotobuch 'Overflow' bietet nun erstmals die Möglichkeit, NAKAHIRAs erstaunliche Serie außerhalb des Ausstellungskontexts zu sehen.
Die Fotografien zeigen Elemente einer Stadt - unheimliche Risse in einem von Gegenständen, Waren und Informationen überfluteten Raum - die NAKAHIRA in seinem alltäglichen Leben begegnete und gefangen nahm, vom Efeu, der über Mauern und Gullideckeln in den Straßen bis zum Reifen eines großen Lastwagens kroch. von einem blaßbäuchigen Hai, der in der transparenten Dunkelheit hinter dem Glas eines Aquariums schwimmt, bis zu Nahaufnahmen einer U-Bahn-Station.

Das Layout des Fotobuches ahmt die Position jedes Fotos während der Installation genau nach, um die ursprüngliche Erfahrung der Serie innerhalb der Grenzen eines Buchs zu reproduzieren.
Darüber hinaus enthält der Band 'Overflow' einen umfangreichen Aufsatz des Assistenzprofessor sder Universität Princeton, Franz K. PRICHARD, in dem er die Oferflow-Serie mit NAKAHIRAs Vision eines 'illustrierten Wörterbuchs' vergleicht (wie in NAKAHIRAs Aufsatz aus dem Jahr 1973, Why an Illustrated Botanical Dictionary? (dt.: Warum ein illustriertes botanisches Wörterbuch?). Dadurch enthält der Betrachter/Leser einen weiteren Einblick, wie sehr Takuma NAKAHIRA Praxis und Theorie in seine Arbeit integrierte." (freie Übersetzung des Verlagstextes)

'Overflow' zwingt uns als Betrachter dazu, das Zusammenspiel einer scheinbar zufälligen Verteilung von Fragmenten, Oberflächen und Resten zu sehen. Wir werden so dazu gebracht, die undifferenzierte Aufzählung von Teilen eines unvollständigen Ganzen zu erfassen.
Das ist, wenn Sie sich erinnern, die Definition der 'illustrierten Wörterbuchform', wie sie NAKAHIRA in dem Aufsatz Warum ein illustriertes botanisches Wörterbuch? vorschwebte." (Franz K. PRICHARD aus seinem Essay)