eN arts

SHOWCASE #1 curated by minoru shimizu

group exhibition




SHOWCASE #1 curated by minoru shimizu

2012.04.06 (FRI.)-04.29 (SUN.)
OPEN ON FRI., SAT., & SUN. 12:00-18:00
OPENING RECEPTION: 04.06 (FRI.) 18:00-20:00


eN arts is pleased to announce a group exhibition, “SHOWCASE #1”, curated by Professor Minoru Shimizu of Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. Prof. Shimizu is a highly respected contemporary art critic who publishes essays and reviews across various media. He is known for presenting clear-cut explanations based logical analysis. For this special exhibition, Prof. Shimizu lent us his unique and superior eye for judging prominent work in selecting four emerging photographers under the age of 30: Shunsuke Kano, Daisuke Nakashima, Karen Sato and Yousuke Takeda. Prof. Shimizu and eN arts together selected the best works of the photographers for exhibition. We are sure that you will enjoy these young talents who represent the next generation in photography.

Naomi Rowe | eN arts


→Click here to see previous “showcase” curated by minoru shimizu.


SHOWCASE #1 Neo Con-pora – cool & critical

“Con-pora” is a Japanese diminutive for the series of exhibitions entitled Contemporary Photographers held at the George Eastman House (Rochester, NY) from 1966 to 1969. The catalogue of its first show, Toward a Social Landscape, had a remarkable influence on many contemporary Japanese photographers, who started to emulate the horizontal snapshots of everyday life presented at these exhibitions. Their works. including Shin Yanagisawa’s Toshi no Kiseki (Traces of the city, shot in 1964-69, published in 1979) and Shigeo Gocho’s Hibi (Days, 1971) as well as Self and Others (1977), are generally referred to as “con-pora” photography, which were later recognized as the first generation of Japanese post-modern photographs.

Con-pora created a distance from the preceding modernist photography that had been striving to expose the “realness” of the world (realism, documentary). This stance led to the creation of characteristically “cool” photography. Instead of snapping hot, “real” moments, the con-pora photographers reflected on the condition of photographs to be regarded as “real,” examining the possibilities of photography in a mass-media society in which the “realness” itself becomes a marketable commodity. The world of photography in Japan at that time, however, was not sufficiently mature to understand unique take on photography of these artists, and hindered by Shigeo Gocho’s premature death, con-pora ended without establishing a place in Japanese photograpy.

The four photographers presented at showcase 1 were born in the early eighties and grew up in the midst of on-going social digitization. Their works share a cool and critical quality, deliberating on the very action of “shooting” and “looking at” photographs. I call them Neo Con–pora because this digital generation’s detached coolness toward reality seems to be an atavism of the interrupted tradition of con-pora. In a digitally linked network society that makes simple dualisms such as <representation> versus <naked reality> or <pictorial> versus <straight> unsustainable, these photographers are searching for alternative possibilities of digital photography.

2012.04 Minoru Shimizu

Art critic, Professor at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. Regularly contributes essays and critical pieces for art magazines, museum catalogues, and books on photography. He has been a member of the jury of Canon New Cosmos of Photography Award since 2010.

Selected English Publications:
Daido Neither Nor in PLATFORM (Taka Ishii Gallery, 2002)
Whence and Whereto of the color photography Eggleston, Meyerowitz and the new generation (Camera Austria, vol.84, 2003)
The Art of Equivalence in Wolfgang Tillmans truth study center (Taschen, 2005)
Shinjuku, Index in Daido Moriyama (Editorial RM, 2007)
The naked sameness in Masayuki Yoshinaga SENTO (Tokyo Kirara sha, 2011)

Shunsuke KANO (b.1983) is a prize-winner (Jury’s prize) of the Canon New Cosmos of Photography, 2011. His critical approach to “looking at” photographs is linked with his keen ability for discovering amazing combinations and correspondences between ordinary images, playing with pictures of incredible contingency or of outspoken fiction, sculptural objects and pixel data.


Karen SATO (b.1983) is a Grand prize-winner of the Canon New Cosmos of Photography, 2010. Her photographs individually don’t show people, instead creating the atmosphere that someone was there. The traces that indicate someone’s existence in a way that the photographed world emerges as signs with specific hues and textures.


Yousuke TAKEDA (b.1982) is a prize-winner (Jury’s prize) of the Canon New Cosmos of Photography 2007 and 2008. Setting his starting point around Jeff Wall’s notion of “near documentary”, Takeda restages the kind of “pictorial”, “real”, “surreal” and “natural” photographs by giving them humorous twists. In reality, however, most of his works are straight photographs carefully selected from his daily shootings on the street.


Daisuke NAKASHIMA (b.1983) is a prize-winner (Excellence Award) of the Canon New Cosmos of Photography, 2007, and a Grand prize-winner of the Visual Arts Photo Award, 2008. In the same year he made his debut with his first book, each other (Seigensha). His extraordinary talent lies in cool, dispassionate composition as well as the sense of framing – severing and combining – the photographed objects. He is one of the few artists who can ingeniously charge framed images with a touch of discrete sexuality.