Paris Photo 2009: Looking Toward Japan
(Image via Paris Photo)
With Buenos Aires Photo, the international photography fair born of Arte al Dia Internacional, having just wrapped up on November 2nd, the photo world will amass once again in France next week for the opening of Paris Photo, arguably the most important photo fair of the year.
This year Paris Photo, which runs November 13th through 16th at the Carrousel Du Louvre, will fix its sights on the photography of Japan, having invited the entire Far East nation as its “guest of honor”, which frankly seems a bit lofty. I guess they are marking the beginning of the end of the world’s fascination with China (surrounding the Olympics) and moving on to another Asian population. To me it seems bizarre the way we focus our attention on an entire country, as if they all produce the exact same quality of photography, rather than focusing on singular photographers. The fair is exhibiting work by more than 130 Japanese photographers, an apparent record for any European venue thus far. Among the contemporary Japanese artists being spotlighted is Hiroshi Sugimoto, an impressive and prolific photographer, but hardly an unknown in the West. He is also opening a solo exhibition this week at Gagosian Gallery, New York. FOIL Gallery of Tokyo will be presenting work by Rinko Kawauchi, another internationally recognized Japanese photographer, whose haunting renderings of fleeting insignificances have even inspired Paris Photo to use an image from her UTATANE series as part of their marketing campaign.
This year, aside from their celebrated interest in the East, Paris Photo will be including a record number of first-time exhibitors, the majority of which are from outside of France. With all major art fairs becoming more and more international in their programs, exhibitor lists, and even press materials, it is a welcome gesture from a leader in the photography world such as Paris Photo to be now on trend.