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Michael Kenna - Japan

Exhibition Period: 28th October – 10th November 2011

Cocktail Reception: 28th October 2011, 6:00-8:00pm (Artist present)


Plum Blossoms Gallery is most excited to announce the return of world-renowned landscape photographer Michael Kenna this October, with new additions to his most famous “Japan” photography series. Officiating at the exhibition opening ceremony will be The Honorable Yuji Kumamaru, Consul-General of Japan in Hong Kong.

Widely considered to be the foremost landscape photographer of his generation, Kenna’s work has often been described as enigmatic, elegant, and hauntingly beautiful – qualities which almost perfectly coincide with Japan’s landscape.  Kenna first stepped foot on this island nation in 1987 and was utterly seduced by this mysterious and wonderfully alluring set of lands.  He returned over the years to travel throughout the country, capturing the serenity of Japan, an elegance of her culture and a reverence for her tradition.

Kenna’s Japanese landscapes are weightless and transient.  They are marked by a minimal quality that seeks to merely suggest rather than to describe, and in that sense they reflect the philosophy of Japanese Haiku poetry, where “a few elements may evoke a world of imagination,” as suggested by Kenna himself.

Throughout his work, Kenna explores the interplay of man-made objects and the natural landscape, how human beings leave their marks on the places they inhabit.  “I am attracted both to the visual juxtapositions and interactions, and also to the lingering atmospheres that pervade these places when normal activities are not happening.  Japan has been a perfect environment to exercise this curiosity.”  The intensity of the drama is further heightened by his use of long exposures, as film is able to accumulate light and record events that our eyes are incapable of seeing.  “The results are deliciously unpredictable,” says Kenna. Limited copies of the expanded edition of the book Michael Kenna – In Japan, published by RAM Tokyo, will also be available for sale at the Gallery.

Kenna’s photographs have been shown in over six hundred gallery and museum exhibitions throughout the world, and are included in such permanent collections as The Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; The National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; The Shanghai Art Museum; and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.  In 2001, Kenna was made a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in France.  Born in Widnes, England in 1953, Kenna currently lives in Seattle, Washington, USA, and continues to photograph throughout the world.

*** Having spent years working in Japan, Michael Kenna (and Plum Blossoms Gallery) will donate all proceeds from print sales of this image: “Torii, Study 2, Takaishima, Biwa Lake, Honshu, Japan. 2007” to a Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, as a small token of Michael’s love and appreciation for the people of Japan. ***