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laminated Cibachrome mounted on aluminum, 1/5
1998, 40 x 50"

laminated Cibachrome mounted on aluminum, 1/5
1998, 40 x 50"

laminated Cibachrome mounted on aluminum, 1/5
1998, 40 x 50"

laminated Cibachrome mounted on aluminum, 1/5
1998, 50 x 60"

Fura S. - Hajime Watanabe: collaboration

March 6 - April 3, 1999

123 Watts is pleased to present the collaborative work of Japanese artists Fura S. (Nobi Shioya) and Hajime Watanabe. The exhibition includes two series of large Cibachrome photographs (40 x 50 and 40 x 60 inches) and two sculptural pieces.

The KOBE BLUE LED series consists of photographs of blue LED lamps under sugar. In his exhibition Sugar Mountain, recently on view in Tokyo, Fura S. scattered the space with half a ton of sugar underneath which he installed 300 LED lights creating the ebb and flow of a tide. Hajime Watanabe shot close-ups of the diffraction of the blue light through the sugar crystals.

The RYOANJI PIETA photographs relate to one of Fura's lifetime favorite subject. As a child he had the opportunity to see Michelangelo's 1499 Pieta at the World Fair in Queens, NY. Shortly after, he moved to Japan and visited the garden at Ryoanji in Kyoto. In the eyes of a six-year-old, Pieta and the garden merged in a single vision: a mountain on a sea of stones. In this collaboration, Hajime Watanabe and Fura S. create a composition that stretches the eye and the mind, by setting up a type of diorama. It is a conscious effort to break the viewer away from the subject in order to create a visual experience in the controlled mannerism of Zen.

The Zen garden was designed exclusively for viewing and contemplation. One does not physically enter but rather explores it mentally, what is a small garden is seen as limitless. Here, Hajime Watanabe uses photography to articulate the notion of finding the vast in the small, to deceive the eye by manipulating the viewer's sense of scale. In RYOANJI PIETA WHITE Pieta is surrounded by a sea of white sugar. In RYOANJI PIETA RED the same scene is coated in sleek bright red: A high gloss Pieta emerges from a pool of enamel and almost becomes a liquid still life.

The two sculptural objets in the exhibition are composed of translucent rubber (commonly used in sculpture to make molds for casting). What is usually used to create a negative imprint is shown here as a two dimensional positive piece. The rubber, matte and skin like, has captured tiny air bubbles. Its irregular surface opposes to the perfect finish of the Cibachromes.

Born in Kobe, Japan.
Studied at Osaka College of Photography
Chief assistant to photographer Yutaka Sakano from 1985 to 1989
Portrait series, in Papua New Guinea in 1991
Second portrait series, nude portraits of the transsexuals and transvestites
of the New York City Time Square completed in 1994.
Photo essay on the Tibetan people in India, Nepal, and Tibet in 1995.
He lives in New York City.
Solo Exhibitions
1999 Fura S. - Hajime Watanabe: collaboration, 123 Watts Gallery, New York
1998 New directions 98, Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY
World Artists for Tibet, Denise Bribo Gallery, New York
Nude/Naked Union Street Gallery, Chicago Illinois
Body Image, Rathbone Gallery, Albany, NY
1997 For adults only, IAS, Phoenix, Arizona
1997 Tibetan children in Exile, Puffin Room, New York
Taboo, Woman made Gallery, Chicago, IL
1995 Photo Nominal 95, Forum Gallery, Jamestown, NY
New Face of the Portrait, Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA
1992 Reincarnation, (selected finalist of Kodak photo contest), Kodak Photo salon, Tokyo
Published work
1998 New York: The City of Artists, Maruzen Library, Japan
1992 Hoganji, The Buddhist Newsletter, Vol424-427, Japan
1992 Photo Review, summer issue (selected finalist of the 1996 competition), USA
Taiyo, July issue, Japan
Yomiuri America, April issue, USA
1993 S.H.I.N.C. vol 15, Japan
1992 Phototechnic, December issue, Japan
Born in Albany, New York, 1958
Studied at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (B.F.A., 1984)
In 1998, he received a grant from the Pollock Krasner Foundation.
He lives and works in New York since 1989.
Solo Exhibitions
1999 Sugar Mountain, Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo
1997 Sugar Mountain, 123 Watts Gallery, New York
1996 Submersions, 123 Watts Gallery, New York
1994 Portraits, CTI Gallery, Tokyo
Selected Group Exhibitions
1998 New Directions 98, Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY
1997 Cities on the move, Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria
Reliquaries, 123 Watts Gallery, New York
The Graven Image, The Tomasulo Gallery, Union County College, NJ
1996 Submerged in Water, Longwood Arts Gallery, Bronx, NY
Walking Barefoot, The Student Center Art Gallery, San Francisco State University, CA
1995 Solid State, Morgan Industrial Center, Jersey City, NJ
Kid City, The Urban Center, NY
1994 Art for Learning, The Urban Center, New York
Spirituality and Religiosity in America, 8th Street Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
Meditations, City Without Walls Gallery, Newark, NJ
1993 Female Body Parts: From Geography to Fetish, Longwood Arts Gallery, Bronx, NY
1992 National Showcase, Alternative Museum, New York
Ecstasy, Dooley Le Cappellaine Gallery, New York
Public Art and Commissions
1996 What A Wonderful Word, NYC Parks & Recreation, Downing Park, New York
1995 Newton and Darwin, The Public Art Fund Inc., West End Towers Park, New York
1993 Untitled, New York City Percent For Art Program, PS 166 Manhattan, New York
1988 Untitled, '88 Nasu Sculpture Symposium, Nasu, Japan
1986 Running Sculpture Project
1985 20th Anniversary Monument, Nippon Surfing Association, Niijima, Japan
Flash Back, Manbow's, Tokyo
1984 Untitled, "To" building (architect:Tadao Ando), Osaka, Japan
Art Guerilla Series, Yokohama, Japan