Miyako Ishiuchi
Clubs Courts Apartments


January 10 - March 29, 2008

Andrew Roth is pleased to announce the opening of “Clubs Courts Apartments,” featuring the work of the renowned Japanese photographer Miyako Ishiuchi, including over 30 vintage black-and-white photographs in her first New York exhibition since 2003.

Miyako Ishiuchi emerged, along with Nobuyoshi Araki, in the wave of visual artists who followed in the footsteps of such important photographers as Shomei Tomatsu and Daido Moriyama. Initially a student of textiles, Ishiuchi discovered photography in the late 1960s, when she began to create work centered around spaces from her childhood, particularly the town of Yokosuka where one of the U.S. Naval bases was established. Her more recent works take the human body as their subject, including that of her aging mother, Butoh dancers, and scarred bodies.

The present exhibition brings together early works from her award-winning Apartments (1978), in conjunction with works from her later series, Club & Courts (1988-1990), all of which are a kind of portraiture of interior spaces. The juxtaposition of these series emphasizes the consistency of Ishiuchi’s vision and interests, demonstrating her almost archaeological fascination with the traces of time’s passage, her attention to the impact of the U.S. presence on local Japanese culture, and her sensitivity to texture, pattern, and surface. Where Apartments investigates dilapidated post-war housing in Tokyo, Clubs & Courts documents the deteriorating abandoned public spaces of U.S. bases in Yokohama and Yokosuka. Few people inhabit her photographs. Instead, Ishiuchi captures their ghosts, their after-presence and a sense of transience, as light emanates outward from the center of the photographs, as if from within the objects themselves. Signs of life and death are indicated through peeling paint or pop-culture posters, crumbling fixtures or the compartmentalization of mailboxes. Her grainy, black-and-white images treat walls, ceilings, and floors as flat planar surfaces, tactile in their sensuality. By contrast, her photographs of doorframes, hallways, and stairwells relieve this flatness with an exaggerated perspective, iconic as points of transition and passage that recede vertiginously into the distance.

Miyako Ishiuchi has established a reputation as one of Japan’s most critically acclaimed artists working within the photographic tradition. She was chosen to represent Japan in the 2005 Venice Biennale. We are pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit her vintage work.