Homma Camera

20 photos from the series Tokyo Suburbia

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October 14 until November 19, 2000

Opening Friday October 14, 20.00h

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Homma Camera is de titel van de expositie die MU maakte met de Japanse fotograaf Takashi Homma Camera is the title of the show in MU, presenting work by the Japanese photograher Takashi Homma. The exhibition featured 20 photos from the series Tokyo Suburbia, 6 from the series Hyper Ballad and 8 from the series Tokyo Kids. The photographs of the work of Rem Koolhaas, which Homma made in the Netherlands and in France at the request of MU, were particularly impressive. These photographs were titled Hommage to OMA. This was Homma's first solo exhibition in Europe and the first retrospective show of his work in the Netherlands.

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Takashi Homma was born in Tokyo in 1962 and is seen as one of the most important contemporary Japanese photographers. Homma studied photography in the Nihon University, worked for various prominent advertising agencies and settled in London in 1989. In London, he worked for I-D magazine and other fashion magazines; he produced non-commercial work and documented the gay community. In 1994, Homma returned to Japan to exploit his work experience in the creation of individual and independent artworks. Although maintaining a critical attitude towards the operating procedures of the media, Homma also takes advantage of these very media to suit his own purposes. All of the multiple activities Homma performs - publishing his photos in art and fashion magazines, compiling and publishing his own magazine Landscapes, shooting short movies, experimenting with a mix of photographs and manga and promoting young photographers such as Hiromix - are infused with this approach. For Homma, the power of photography lies in effectuating a distance with the object, shutting out strong emotions and messages. Homma believes that a photographer should not be led by his ego, which, however, should not prevent the photographer from developing a completely unique and recognisable style of his own.

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Homma's photos were on display in Parco Gallery (Tokyo), Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo), Alleged Galleries (New York) and Gallery Bob Vanorsouw (Zurich). Homma participated in group exhibitions in Reykjavik, Vienna (Cities on the Move), London, Winterthur and other places. He also took part in the exhibitions Elysian Fields in the Centre Pompidou, Presumes Innocents in Bordeaux and Land/mind/bodyscapes in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Photos by Homma have also been on display in the exhibition Hedendaagse Fotografie uit Japan (Contemporary Art from Japan), taking place in museum De Pont in Tilburg between Oktober 21, 2000 and February 18, 2001. In Tokyo Suburbia, the entirely artificial landscape of the many suburbs of Tokyo and the boys and girls living in these suburbs is captured in a clear and colourful series of photographs. Looking like documentary photos without any narrative backgrounds, these photos represent for Homms an architectural model. This artificial landscape easily provokes criticism, yet for the generation that was born and bred in these suburbs this landscape represents a constant and familiar setting, the reality of their lives. The sense of detachment one experiences in these photos is the most significant characteristic of Homma's views of suburban life. The Children photos Homma made in the past two years are characterised by the same detachment emanating from the suburb photos. Exposed to the staring eye of the spectator, the children neither resist nor attempt to seduce the camera, but impassively return our glances. Homma does not manipulate or dominate the objects or the children. He registers what he sees through his lense and manages to capture the current of excitement between him and his subject matter.

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In the period September 18 - 23 Takashi Homma made a new series of photos entitled Hommage to OMA. Knowing that Homma was a great admirer of the architect Rem Koolhaas, MU introduced Homma to Koolhaas and his firm OMA. The feeling of admiration appeared mutual. OMA made it possible for Homma to photograph the work of Koolhaas as well as the interior and exterior of the famous 'Maison a Bordeaux', an honour reserved to a select group of photographers only. Part of this new series of Homma photos was presented in MU for the very first time and will shortly be published in a number of prominent Japanese architecture magazines.

Bart Hess

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