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Takuma Nakahira, For a Language to Come, 1970

Takuma Nakahira (1938-2015)

Japanese artist Takuma Nakahira has passed away. Also a writer and critic, Nakahira founded Purovoku (Provoke), an experimental magazine that featured work by photographers and that intended to capture “pieces of reality cut out by means of the camera,” as Nakahira wrote. The magazine, though short-lived, introduced the public to the are, bure, boke style, a rough and out-of-focus approach adopted by many later Japanese photographers. Nakahira’s own work, a photo-installation titled Circulation, appeared at the 1971 Paris Biennale. By the 1960s he had become “one of the most influential figures in contemporary culture in Japan,” in the words of writer and curator Matthew S. Witkovksy.

Coming to despise the state of contemporary art, Nakahira destroyed all his negatives in 1973. That move, combined with the traumatic memory loss he experienced four years later, took him out of the public eye to a large extent. Still, he published multiple well-received volumes featuring his photographs, and in 1990, along with Seiichi Furuya and Nobuyoshi Araki, he received the Society of Photography Award. The Yokohama Museum of Art staged a retrospective of his work, in 2003, that featured over 800 images by the artist.

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