Domestic Scandals.
Photographs by Takashi Yasumura, with essays by Martin Jaeggi, Akihito Yasumi, and Shino Kuraishi.
Osiris Co., Tokyo, 2005. 92 pp., 36 four-color illustrations, 10x10".

The Japanese sliding door with a tree printed on it divides the room; a pinkish short-nap carpet runs right up to it. In blank contrasts such as this, these three dozen photos speak to the kind of ordinary juxtapositions found in any household, perhaps. But not in just any home; this one is stripped down to frame this boring stuff in the sparest manner. The effect is almost bewildering; this is a simple interior, with familiar domestic objects in it. So why does it all seem so alien? The minimalist staging—often one or two things per photograph against plain ground—is uncanny in its rigor. Soon thoughts drift to the void, and one’s own surroundings and belongings begin to resonate; they take on a tyrannical cast. But then some of Yasumura’s photos break over your eyes with simple perfection that transcends any stance: a rose in a bud vase next to a stack of toilet paper. It would be an optimistic leap to say that this is some kind of celebration of the everyday. But in the estranged domestic space Yasumura creates, there is still a straining beauty. If you’re not a fan of what some German and northern European artists have been doing with their own mute things and quotidian but well-lit spaces, don’t look here. The essays that accompany the book have their own largely consumerist interpretation, hinting at the surrender of tradition. But with in one point Shino Kuraishi seems to sum it up: Yasumura takes kitsch beyond kitsch, and somehow redeems it. ALAN RAPP Read Publisher's Description.

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