Sep 4, 2007

Man and Woman #1

Man and Woman #1


Eikoh Hosoe

(Japanese, b. 1933)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 24.6 x 16.9 cm (9 11/16 x 6 5/8 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1993.215



Technical discipline, allegory, the tension of opposites, and a lyric sense of design characterize the photographs of Eikoh Hosoe. Fusing the figurative with the abstract, he manipulates cropping, toning, and lighting to create images that are at once intimate and universal meditations. One of Hosoe’s most characteristic series, Man and Woman (1959–60) explores the human figure as both an elegant abstraction and a charged erotic subject. His images convey a theatrical and literary narrative, challenging the repressive moral codes of postwar Japan. The mysterious Man and Woman #1 depicts a heavily made-up Butoh dancer suspending a dead fish in her hand. The photograph’s exaggeration of power roles also suggests an intriguing relationship between female and male, life and death, and man and animal.

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