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The Second Stage at GG #40

Masakazu Murakami Exhibition: “Reclusive Travels”

  • DATES : Mon. August 31 - Thu. September 17, 2015
  • HOURS : 11:00a.m.-7:00p.m.
  • Closed Sundays. Admission free.

“The Second Stage at GG” is a series of exhibitions presenting more recent works by former finalists in the gallery’s open competitions launched to promote budding artists in various fields. The 40th exhibition in “The Second Stage at GG” series, “Reclusive Travels,” will feature the works of Masakazu Murakami, who won the Grand Prize in the Photography category at the 16th “Hitotsubo” competition back in 2000.

After winning that event, Murakami, then still in his twenties, disappeared from the limelight as if to escape from reality. Keeping his whereabouts unknown to others, he began traveling about Japan and took to visiting local hot springs. He took photos of his many encounters in these little known locations, and these are the photos featured in this exhibition.

Murakami’s black-and-white photos were typically shot at hot springs deep in the mountains, places frozen in time where the private and public realms intermingle. In them we find hints of the ambivalent feelings of a young man who yearns to be alone yet at the same time seeks the warmth of others.

The exhibition will focus on Murakami’s prints on photo paper as well as his large-size inkjet prints. It will also introduce the process by which Murakami put together his photo book, also titled “Reclusive Travels,” published this June, as well as his contact prints of photos taken during his travels.

We eagerly invite visitors to come trace Murakami’s path through Japan’s hidden hot springs transcending parameters of time and space, and to experience his strikingly coarse works suggestive of the vestiges of existence.


Message from the Artist

Receiving Grand Prize in the “Hitotsubo” competition in 2000 inspired me to think that from that point on I wanted to make a living doing work related to photography. At the time I received that totally unexpected award I had been doing photography only about a year, and now, after trials and tribulations of all sorts, I find that 15 years have somehow passed. When I was young so many things failed to go as I hoped, and in my desire to vanish into thin air I began wandering about the country, and it was then that I encountered hot springs tucked away in mountain hamlets. When I first began photographing them, I wished that somehow, together with the clouds of steam rising from their waters, I too might disappear forever; and it’s strange how photos I took at such a gloomy time in my life are now gathering such attention this way. For this solo show, besides my photos I will be exhibiting the printing paper and contact prints I used when producing my photo book, as well as large-size inkjet prints and galley proofs from the printing phase.

Masakazu Murakami


Opening Party
August 31 (Mon), 2015 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Talk Show: “No Escape from Photography”
September 15 (Tue), 2015 7:10 – 8:40 p.m.

Masakazu Murakami

Born in Tokyo in 1977. Graduated from Tokyo Visual Arts in 2001. Won Grand Prize in the 16th “Hitotsubo” competition and the 5th Visual Arts Photo Award Grand Prize. In 2007, published the photo book “Kumogakure Onsen: Reclusive Travels” (Gentosha). Since 2008 he has served as editor of “Nippon Camera” magazine. He has also performed editing of “Shashin to seikatsu” [Photography and Life] by Kisei Kobayashi, “Yume no Hikari: Light of Dreams” by Akihide Tamura, “Shashin – hihyo – shusei” [Photography – Criticism – Collection] by Osamu Ueno, “Ectoplasm Profiling” by Osamu Kanemura, etc. In 2015 he published a newly edited version of “Kumogakure Onsen: Reclusive Travels” (roshin books) containing additional photos.

Organizer: Guardian Garden