Zen Foto Gallery is pleased to present Kazuyoshi Usui’s photography exhibition Showa96 from March 8 to 30. Having released Showa88 in 2011 and Showa92 in 2015, Showa96 is the third and final part of his Showa work.
“I am not trying to express nostalgia by naming my series ‘Showa’. To me, ‘Showa’ represents the ‘gritty determination to survive’. Rather, I am trying to create a world of fantasy, imagining if ‘Showa’ had continued to exist in another time and space and what kind of world it will be. I am releasing this third part of my Showa work just as the Heisei Era is coming to an end.
I find aesthetics in the contradictions and fraying that exist in human beings trying to survive throughout their life - people who continue to follow their own beliefs even when they are regarded as misfits. By following my gut feeling, sometimes I make portraits of them and sometimes I build stories from the feelings I get from the places.
Perhaps this whole process is now complete, and I hope to have filled the emptiness in my contradictory state of mind - living in a world of great comfort without having to worry about food and other necessities, even though I am thankful for the achievements of our predecessors.
Am I being driven by the era, or am I being driven by what I have deliberately made up for myself?
The only certain thing is, Heisei is ending this year, but Showa continues.”