Izima Kaoru: Landscapes with a Corpse
Edgar Allan Poe wrote, "The death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world." Ophelia, Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina are evidence that other writers and artists have agreed. Fusing Poe's sentiment with the Buddhist imperative to muse daily on one's own death, Japanese photographer Izima Kaoru asks Japanese and European actresses and models to collaborate with him in staging their own demises. The resulting images bring a melancholic palate and impeccable technique to an assortment of figures who have expired with perfect coiffure--made up and sporting couture by such designers as Vivienne Westwood, Gucci, Prada and Dior. There is something filmic about Kaoru's framing, which alternates between long shot and close-up, yet the narrative remains shadowy. This volume assembles for the first time 43 such scenes from 1993 to the present. They are influenced by art historical references ranging from traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e woodcuts to contemporary Pop.