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.”

ーKazuyoshi Usui

Artist Profile

Kazuyoshi USUI

Born in Tokyo, 1975. Graduated from Tokyo Polytechnic University, Department of Photography in 1998. Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. His past solo exhibitions include “MACARONI CHRISTIAN” (Konica Minolta Plaza Gallery, 1996), “Showa88” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2011), “Showa92” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2015), and “Showa88-95” (KKAG, 2018). Usui has also participated in numerous group exhibitions including “San Marino International Photomeeting” in 1997, “IN&OUT” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, “A Vision of Japan” at galleri BALDER, Oslo. His main publications are “MACARONI CHRISTIAN” (Bijutsu Shuppan, 2006), “Showa88” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2011) and “Showa92” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2015). In 2015 he was responsible for the planning and cinematography of the movie “The 14th Dalai Lama”. Usui’s works are included in public collections such as Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Yamanashi, Tokyo Polytechnic University, and the amana collection, Tokyo.

Publications & Prints