by Yoshinori Mizutani
Last weekend, the Westergas area in Amsterdam was completely transformed again for the Unseen Photo Fair. Following two slightly underwhelming editions, this year turned out to be a rather exciting display of photographic work from all over the world. In spite of these fluctuating levels of inspiration to be found in the booths, there's one spot that never ceases to impress us since their debut three years ago: the booth of Antwerp-based IBASHO Gallery. For Unseen 2017 they decided to bring work by our favorite photographer under their representation; Yoshinori Mizutani, who shot the series named 'Amsterdam' during his first visit ever to the city, while the 2015 edition took place (when we were all set to meet him, but he had to cancel because of sickness - hopefully next year!).
We've been fans of Mizutani's work from the moment we discovered his iconic 'Tokyo Parrots' series some years ago and he has been expanding his impressive portfolio with one beautiful series after another ever since. In recent years he has been moving beyond figurative images into the photographic abstract, which brings new layers of depth into his artistic vision and for one resulted in our favorite Plant Journal cover till date. Mizutani's abstract work beautifully touches a similar color palette as his figurative work and therefore still shows a remarkable similar signature, which is rare. With 'Amsterdam' Mizutani focusses on one of the city's most iconic landmarks; the canals, which now a days are structurally polluted by tourists or wealthy boat owners (and their drunken friends) — yet through the lens of Mizutani all of that ugliness is filtered out, in order for abstract colorful representations to remain, revealing some of the most beautiful expressionistic photography of the famous stretches of water that we have ever seen. [ Continue reading ]
Frederik Vercruysse, Clarisse Demory and Mark Colle for The Plant Journal 09
Last month marked the release of already the ninth issue of the inspirational The Plant Journal. Full of flowers this time around, it honors one in particular — not the most trendy flower, but definitely a classic of some sort; the geranium. Seamlessly fitting the changing weather of the last weeks (at least in The Netherlands and Belgium), the magazine celebrates the summer, which for instance also perfectly matches life like artist Roberto Burle Marx, one of the protagonists of the issue. Legendary German illustrator and artist Tomi Ungerer shares his beloved piece of land in Ireland while Elein Fleiss shows her knowledge on herbs and Antoni Arola details his passion for seeds. Kuba Ryniewicz focusses on Conrwall’s mighty marine flora, Mark Borthwick the lush of Jamaica. Formafantasma and Ethel Baraona meditate about the meaning of borders and Mercedes Villalba explores desire paths. Furthermore, one learns about the linen process, how to preserve dandelions into paperweights and the tastiest ice-cream recipes by Kitty Travers.
In all, the new inspirational issue is packed with some of the most beautiful flowers one finds on this earth, captured by talented people like Brian Kanagaki, the always great Scheltens & Abbesses and one of our favorite photographers around; Yoshinori Mizutani, who captured the park life in London like only he can, as is also portrayed on maybe the most beautiful cover created for the magazine. Yet, there is one series, even above Mizutani's, which is our clear favorite, coming from two Belgian inspirators in their particular field: the collaboration between photographer Frederik Vercruysse, who teamed up with stylist Clarisse Demory and no less than flower grandmaster Mark Colle, for a series of bouquets in which they honor six deceased pop cultural icons (Whitney Houston, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson. Minnie Riperton, Nina Simone and David Bowie) in bespoke arrangements and settings created for these individuals. [ Continue reading ]
Yoshinori Mizutani at IBASHO Amsterdam
We discovered the Antwerp-based IBASHO gallery as one of the exhibitors of last year's Unseen Photo Fair. During the long weekend in Amsterdam, amongst other work, it showed the incredible 'Tokyo Parrots' series by the very talented Japanese photographer Yoshinori Mizutani, which we were very happy to see in real life for the first time and formed one of the undisputed highlights of the whole festival for us. IBASHO specializes in contemporary photography and next to Mizutani has some very talented photographers in its roster. Despite the other talent Yoshinori Mizutani remains our favorite and on the 7th of April the gallery presents the second solo exhibition of the young Japanese artist. After the successful pop-up show in 2015 at Graanmarkt 13, the work of Mizutani will return in Antwerp with a solo exhibition in the gallery. The exhibition combines images from his earlier popular series 'Tokyo Parrots' and 'Yusurika' with two new series, 'Sakura' and 'Kawau'. In 'Sakura', inspiration of the name of this particular show, Mizutani shows us an unusual and mesmerizing view on one of Japans icons, the cherry blossom. The abstract and graphic black and white photography of the 'Kawau '- Japanese for the cormorant bird - is Mizutani’s second exploration of birds in an urban environment, and forms the perfect grainy black and white counterpart of the pastel colored 'Tokyo Parrots'. We can't wait for this incredible showcase of Mizutani's talent. [ Continue reading ]
The Japanese photographer Yoshinori Muzutani released the incredible series 'Tokyo Parrots' in 2013 and since then it has left an unforgettable impression on us. The escaped parakeets - not actually parrots - have flourished in the city of Tokyo for some decades now, and likewise fascinated photographer Yoshinori Mizutani, who upon his first encounter with them was struck by apprehension and fear, as if he had walked into Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. Unnatural as they seemed in the urban environment, he followed the flocks and watched their daily patterns, eventually locating one of the largest nesting places in a certain ginkgo tree. After some resesarch Mizutani found out that these parakeets were brought to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s from tropical regions in India and Sri Lanka to be sold as pets, but which have been roaming the city after the owners lost interest. The result of his bird watching study is a highly remarkable, aesthetic series of surreal photographs revealing a tropical urban world inhabited by parakeets. [ Continue reading ]