Ocula MagazineContentsView All
Featured ContentView All
Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Ocula Insight

Hiroji Kubota at Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Aperture Foundation, New York

Katie Fallen 8 December 2015
Hiroji Kubota. © Dan Szpara

You currently have on show more than 100 of your photographs at both Sundaram Tagore and the Aperture Foundation – perhaps you could pick out which image you feel is most symbolic of your practice?

For me, there are a few works which standout. Of the dye-transfers on show at Sundaram Tagore, it is my triptych of the Guilin Mountains in China from 1981 and my photograph of the Golden Rock of Burma from 1978. Then at the Aperture Foundation, where they have on display my earlier platinum prints from the 60s and 70s, my image of Shanghai in 1979 and Hong Kong in 1971 are especially symbolic.

Hiroji Kubota, Aerial of Guilin, China, 1980. Dye-transfer print, 24 x 20 inches/61 x 50.8 cm. © Hiroji Kubota/Magnum Photos

The works on show at Sundaram Tagore utilise the technique of dye-transfer printing, which you worked with in the 1980s. Please could you take us through this method of production?

Producing works using the dye-transfer technique is extremely complex and time-consuming. With the help of the genius printer, Nino Mohnde, we would painstakingly print my photographs using 6 to 9 natural dye colours. The technique cannot be used today as the technology no longer remains.

Hiroji Kubota, Kyaiktiyo, Burma, 1978. Dye-transfer print, 20 x 24 inches/50.8 x 61 cm. © Hiroji Kubota/Magnum Photos image courtesy of Sundaram Tagore Gallery

How has your involvement with Magnum Photos Photographers co-operative influenced your practice over the years?

In 1961, while I was studying political science as Waseda University, Tokyo, I met 4 Magnum Photographers (Elliott Erwitt, Rene Burri, Burt Glinn and Brian Brake). It was so fascinating that soon after, instead of seeking a secure job, I decided to be a photographer despite my lack of background in photography and art. Upon graduating in 1962, and with the support of Erwitt, I bought one Leica body camera, two lenses and a one-way ticket to New York. Soon after my arrival there, I met Cornell Capa, the younger brother of Robert Capa the founder of Magnum Photos, and he became my father (not in the legal sense) for the first 3 years of my photographic career. I worked everyday from 5am to 11pm; Burt and Cornell gave me assistant jobs and extra cash, which I needed badly. Fortunately in 1965, I got big jobs through Magnum and ever since then people thought I became a photographer. I should say, I am extraordinarily lucky; Magnum has always been my family and the only family in photography I know of. 

Hiroji Kubota, CHINA. Shanghai, 1979. Retrospective platinum print. Image courtesy Sundaram Tagore Gallery. 

The exhibition’s title ‘Photographer’ is emblematic of your dedication to the medium – perhaps you could explain what this word means to you?

To me, a photographer is someone who takes photographs all the time, they do not talk, teach or lecture about it. The life of a photographer, it seems to me, is very lonely. You have to go far away many times, and your family suffers. When you get lonely your sensitivity, I feel, gets amplified. A sensitivity, basic knowledge and great curiosity is so important to observe people, society and the world. I am not saying that I am a photographer like that, but I will keep trying till my heart stops beating. Also, I want to emphasize I owe Elliott Erwitt so much; without him, I could not be a photographer. I also learnt a lot from Andre Kertesz, to whom my retrospective book is dedicated. —[O]

Hiroji Kubota, HONG KONG, 1971. Retrospective platinum print. Image courtesy Sundaram Tagore Gallery. 

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

Scan to follow Ocula on WeChat.
iCal GoogleYahooOutlook