© Kyoichi Tsuzuki

Anna Sui

Kyoichi Tsuzuki
Happy Victims

Journalist, editor, art curator, nightclub designer, book publisher and latterly, photographer, Kyoichi Tsuzuki has made it his life's mission to reveal and define creativity as it manifests itself outside "high" or mainstream culture. Tsuzuki has authored over 30 books (and edited more than 150); he has staged a "take-away" photography exhibition on a revolving restaurant-style conveyor belt; he has painstakingly reconstructed a bizarre Japanese sex museum; and he has created the world's first Internet Art Museum where the admission charges go directly to the exhibiting artists.

Born in 1956, Tsuzuki is best known for "Roadside Japan" (1996) and "Tokyo Style" (1993), two books of photography which challenged the image that most people harbour of Japanese design as elegant, minimal and immaculately tidy. In "Tokyo Style", Tsuzuki explored how young urbanites had adapted to life in the city's notoriously cramped living spaces by defining strange and resourceful interior aesthetics within the constraints of compressed living. In "Roadside Japan", he created an alternative guide book to the country's unsung places, intended for tourists bored with the usual temples and gardens. A book filled with art found in odd places, it documents a Japanese predilection for the offbeat and the outré.

In the exhibition "Happy Victims", Tsuzuki photographs some thirty individuals who have turned the act of shopping into an indefinable obsession, lying somewhere between artistic expression and an unusual kind of fetishism. Worshipping one individual designer, these men and women consume religiously their chosen labels - Jean Paul Gaultier, Anna Sui, Vivienne Westwood - often at the expense of life's other necessities. They turn what are typically minute apartments into living temples to their fashion gods, resulting in interiors which range from the breathtakingly cluttered to the manically ordered.

There's Yoyogi Hachiman, a man so devoted to Hermès that he carries his 500,000 yen Hermès briefcase wrapped in a bath towel (Hermès of course) to protect it from his own sweat. There's the Buddhist monk who comes to Tokyo for regular shopping sprees on his weekends off from his temple, in order to indulge his passion for Comme des Garçons clothing. There are the three young Osakan girl-"goths" who share their lives, their apartment and their love of Jane Marple, a designer who defines the Japanese Goshiki or gothic style and there's the woman who buys Isabel Marant because she can't afford Francesco Clemente paintings.

"Happy Victims" is Kyoichi Tsuzuki's first UK solo exhibition in a public gallery.

The exhibition is produced by the Festival international des arts de la mode à Hyères-villa Noailles, the Fondation Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, and the Centre national de la photographie, Paris, curated by Michel Mallard.

Kate Bush, Senior Programmer

September 25 - November 16, 2003
Hours: Mon-Sat 11.00 - 18.00, Sun 12.00 - 18.00

The Photographers' Gallery
5 & 8 Great Newport Street
UK-London WC2H 7HY
Telephone +44 020 7831 1772
Fax +44 020 7836 9704