Texts by Roy Exley, Yuko Hasegawa and Peter Weiermair. Photographs by Izima Kaoru.
Ostfildern. Hatje Cantz. 2008. First edition. Cloth-backed pictorial boards. 192 pages. 171 colour plates. 290 x 350mm (11½ x 13¾"). 2.1kg. 9783775722377. English, with German translation. Fine.
'“The death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world,” wrote Edgar Allan Poe. And one is tempted to be of the same opinion when considering Ophelia, Madame Bovary, or Anna Karenina. This concept is also deeply rooted in Far Eastern culture: Buddhism even recommends daily meditation on one’s own death.
The Japanese artist Izima Kaoru (*1954 in Kyoto) lets the most beautiful of the beautiful generate ideas about their own impermanence, about their own death, which he then translates into images. Starting with classic and strict landscape photographs, his highly aesthetic images slowly approach the victims of self-inflicted or external violence—right through to detailed close-ups of their faces—who have experienced death in perfect beauty.
Landscapes with a Corpse assembles for the first time all of the photographic epics created by Izima since 1993. Japanese film divas and models, but also European actresses such as Barbara Rudnik or Helena Noguerra, are posed in perpetual beauty in gowns by Prada, Gucci, and Dior. The visual sources range from traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e woodcuts to Pop Art—and the results are always characterised by a bewitching melancholic beauty, and sadness.' (from the publisher's description).
Kaoru's models are posed in couture by Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garcons, Vivienne Westwood, Hermes, Gucci, Givenchy, Prada, Dries Van Noten, Louis Vuitton, John Galliano, Jil Sander, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Alexander McQueen and many more.