Spirited European Photographers to Depict Contemporary Toyama
The 14th prefecture selected for portrayal in the European Eyes on Japan/Japan Today project was Toyama. Invitations went to two photographers from Portugal and Slovenia, hosts of the 2012 European Capitals of Culture. During their stay in the prefecture, the two are scheduled to photograph Toyama in the context of their communication with a variety of local people, not least the art non-profit Himming, which has conducted sustained activities in culture and the arts in the city of Himi since 2006. In the autumn of 2012 and afterwards the work they produce during this time will be published in a collection of photography and exhibited at European Capitals of Culture Guimarães 2012 (Portugal) and Maribor 2012 (Slovenia), as well as locally in Toyama. Our hope is that the contemporary Toyama that they portray will be an opportunity for local people to look anew on and consider the everyday life of the prefecture that they tend to overlook for its over-familiarity.
José Pedro Cortes / Portugal
Period of photographing: 24 Mar. 2012 - 14 Apr. 2012
Born 1976 in Porto, Portugal, and currently resident in Lisbon. Cortes studied photography at the Lisbon art school Ar.Co and completed graduate school at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in 2004. In 2005 he was selected for inclusion in "Photo London - Emerging Artists Presentations" as an artist of promise. Cortes is reckoned one of the new generation of Portuguese photography.
His "Silence" (2006) is a quiet depiction of the environment of young urban dwellers, their human relationships, their isolation and their complex emotions. Last year's "Things here and things still to come" (2011) is an ambitious work seeking to capture a new perspective on the city of Tel Aviv through four women living there who are former soldiers in the Israeli army. Roaming the Middle Eastern city that feels in part idyllic, the viewer can only let thoughts turn to problems out of sight faced by the country and its society.
Bojan Radovič / Slovenia
Period of photographing: 31 Mar. 2012 - 21 Apr. 2012
Born 1960 in Novo mesto, Solvenia, currently resident in same. Radovič graduated from the WGIHE (now the Swansea Metropolitan University, Wales) Faculty of Art and Design. In addition to his own work as a photographer, Radovič has been a leading force in the Slovenian photography world, opening a photo gallery and involved in curation.
Radovič's work asks penetrating questions of contemporary society and art with carefully considered concepts and a cool eye untrammeled by preconceptions. His "Ready Made Still Lifes" (2008) produced in Brooklyn depicts the exteriors of houses and other buildings, and the artificial flowers adorning their windows, presented as montages. They give an impression of uniformity that is in contrast to the ethnic and cultural jumble that is Brooklyn, but Radovič is inquiring further as to the artistic value of these photographs that, applying no real technique, take as their subject artificial flowers. "The Icon/The Star" (2008-2010) turns its attention to the red star that was the symbol of communism. Its original significance faded, it now functions as a mere device or sign. Tracking this circumstance, Radovič explores the fact that the icon no longer exists and the changing role of signs in history.