Critics’ Picks

Kato and Nakashima Mika Wear Vivienne Westwood, 2004.

Kato and Nakashima Mika Wear Vivienne Westwood, 2004.


Izima Kaoru

Studio la Città
Lungadige Galtarossa 21
February 25–April 1, 2006

The starting point for all of Japanese artist Izima Kaoru’s large-scale portrait photographs is a disturbing question: “How would you prefer to die?” The model must describe in detail her “perfect death,” which Kaoru then re-creates for the benefit of his coldly analytic lens. The sensual bodies of “murdered” young women are set in these landscapes—up in trees, on bridges, on roads. The works, many of which feature long shots in which the bodies seem to dissolve into their environment, has obvious cinematographic origins, and the viewer searches for telling details, clues to the story behind the image. Kaoru asks his models to choose clothes from big fashion houses, and his imitation of advertising photography underlines the rituality and solemnity of their gestures. Death is thought of differently in the eastern world, of course, and the holistic approach engenders a much less obsessive, less frightened relationship with it. In these photos, even the corpse loses its drama, and, while faced with bodies strewn like rags in the landscape, one can’t help but note the harmonious combination of forms and colors. These deaths, rendered aseptic, are a natural extension of a world in which such a private event usually occurs in a public place, removed from everyday life.