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Bruce Silverstein is pleased to announce Shinichi Maruyama / KUSHO, the first American exhibition of photographic works by the Japanese born artist. 

KUSHO, the Japanese word for “writing in the sky” features ten large-scale photographs that represent the midair interplay of black Indian ink and water. The phenomenon that Maruyama captures—two liquids colliding the millisecond before they merge into gray—is the result of various actions and devices. The resultant images, which appear to be more painting than photograph, literally deconstruct the material elements of ink drawing and calligraphy, allowing the viewer to see in extraordinary detail chemical and physical processes invisible to the naked eye. The split-second timing necessary to photograph these pictures is made possible by recent advances in strobe light technology, allowing the artist to capture phenomena to within 7,500th of a second. 

As the art historian Maurice Berger writes of the Kusho series: “Maruyama’s photographs both document and formalistically play on the chance effects of these processes, exemplifying the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi—the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.


‘Not knowing what you are going to get impresses me strongly,’ Maruyama observes of the Kusho pictures. ‘We do not know what we have until we look at the actual photograph. If these images are fundamentally graphic, even painterly, they are also a meditation on the material properties of photography. In its spatial illusionism and meticulous detail, the photograph inevitably points to a world outside of itself, a world of visual forms and sensations, always reminding us of its origin in it.

Maruyama’s work, however, reminds us that the medium operates on two visual levels simultaneously: the illusionistic, the external realm of spatial depth and perspective, and the abstract, the light, shadow, and texture that resonate on the surfaces of things, including that of the photograph itself.”

Shinichi Maruyama was born in 1968 in Nagano, Japan.  He has lived in Manhattan since 2003.

A catalogue with the same title with introductory essay by Maurice Berger will accompany the exhibition.

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