Kohei Yoshiyuki: The Park
Edited by Yossi Milo. Interview by Nobuyoshi Araki. Text by Vince Aletti.
Kohei Yoshiyuki's nighttime photographs, taken with infrared film and flash in Japan's Shinjuku, Yoyogi and Aoyama Parks during the 1970s, capture the illicit sexual encounters, both heterosexual and homosexual, that frequently occurred there under the cloak of darkness. The Park's images not only reveal hidden sexual exploits but also uncover many spectators ardently lurking in the darkness, waiting to join in--and quickly raise issues of voyeurism and surveillance. In The Photobook: A History, Volume II, Martin Parr speaks to the societal relevance of this series, calling it, "A brilliant piece of social documentation, catching perfectly the loneliness, sadness and desperation that so often accompany sexual or human relationships in a big, hard metropolis like Tokyo."
As exhibition organizer and editor Yossi Milo writes in his introduction, "With each viewing, I noticed something that had eluded me before: the photos' rigorous compositions…They are provocative photographs, and unsettling as well: one is both chilled and thrilled by Yoshiyuki's boldness, by how close he crept to his unaware subjects, by the hours he spent late at night crouched in bushes and against trees, waiting for his perfect shot." Originally published as Document Kouen in Japan in 1980 and long out of print, the austere and acclaimed first edition of this book now commands prices near $1,000 per copy. This new, updated edition, featuring an interview with the artist by colleague Nobuyoshi Araki and an essay by the noted photo critic Vince Aletti, contains all 60 works from the infamous Park series, reproduced from new scans in deluxe duotones. This work has not been seen by the public since the 1970s and has been known only to cult collectors until now. Exhibited at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York in September of 2007, it was one of the most talked-about offerings of the season.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
Yoshiyuki’s series “The Park” certainly exposes the visceral, naughty thrill of voyeurism.