Japan: Art and Its Essence

Japan: Art and Its Essence

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 31. Hisaji Hara (b. 1964) | A study of ‘Katia Reading'.

Property from an Important Private Collection

Hisaji Hara (b. 1964) | A study of ‘Katia Reading'

Lot Closed

July 26, 01:31 PM GMT


2,000 - 3,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from an Important Private Collection

Hisaji Hara (b. 1964)

A study of ‘Katia Reading'

albumen, from After Balthus, 2009, signed in pencil in Roman letters to the reverse Hisaji H., and numbered 4/8 

33.3 x 25.6 cm., 13⅛ x 10⅛ in.

MEM Gallery, Tokyo

Hisaji Hara was born in Tokyo in 1964. He graduated from the Musashino Art University in 1986. He emigrated to the United States in 1993 where he worked as a film director and later returned to Japan in 2001. Cinema is central to his photographic work, particularly the works of Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986). The influence of film is redolent in his series After Balthus which appear like camera stills from a movie. Hisaji’s meticulous rendering of Balthus’s (1908-2001) expressionist paintings in black and white transform the strange, unnerving and suggestive compositions into cinematic scenes. Rather than the domestic interiors of Balthus, Hisaji transports the setting to an abandoned medical clinic that fell into disuse in 1960, capturing a sense of stationary time.

It is in Hara’s technique which most poignantly captures these dreamlike images. Sean O'Hagan writes: 'In an age of digital post-production manipulation, he prefers to use more old-fashioned, labour-intensive methods, including multiple exposures and the use of a huge smoke machine to create the opaque quality that many of his prints possess. In some photographs you can see the slight blurring between one exposure and the next, usually when he has placed the girl in two different positions in the photograph. The blur, like the opaqueness, only adds to the otherworldly atmosphere of the prints. For the technically minded, Hara made a huge box to surround his large-format camera so that he could mask part of the picture, then shot multiple exposures while shifting the focus. He also built the table that appears in the pictures and hand-painted the tablecloth to achieve an unreal perspective in which the lines and squares do not converge as they recede into the background’.1 

1. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/feb/26/hisaji-hara-photography-hoppen-review