5 augustus – 26 augustus


Kunst Kan invites Japan to Amsterdam and presents an original dialogue between Ogata Kotaro and E.A. di Nunzio James. The two artists will be together in residency for the duration of the exhibition, for the wabi sabi studio gallery: a creative lab in direct contact with the public, attention for the serendipity of the moment, in order to celebrate life, perfectly imperfect!

STREET SAKURA’ is an exhibition that revolves around hatching. The phenomenon of rebirth is inscribed in our intimate and secular cycles, and here, it is about restoring the faith in the living after years of intense disintegration: the Covid pandemic has disintegrated us, socially, politically and internally. Nevertheless, the Japanese cherry trees, just like the others, have started blooming again, spring after spring. Here, these famous Sakura’s are the symbol of the positive glorification of the transitory, both in its vulnerability and in its strength. Being reborn and being brought to life, for Kotaro, is “going into the rough world, encountering its chaotic black-and-white which comforts me.” In a Japan that has closed itself for months within its isolated character, Kotaro continued taking photographs of the street, the streets, in Tokyo, Nagoya or Kyoto, where he lives. In a severity, diligence, youth and strength that challenged di Nunzio James. The artist then invited Kotaro on his first journey to Europe, to share the residency at Kunst Kan. They had talked about it for years, this important meeting between the young, self-educated Japanese man who loved Godard and Gainsbourg, and the Prix de Rome turning itself tirelessly toward this empire of the rising sun, while painting samurai-oysters, and other stones of patience. Today it is a zen and trashy, spiritual and punk garden that they present in Amsterdam, a place of converging freedoms.


Kunst Kan invite le Japon à Amsterdam, et présente un dialogue inédit entre Ogato Kotaro et E.A. di Nunzio James. Les deux artistes seront ensemble en résidence pendant toute la durée de l’exposition, pour atelier-galerie wabi sabi : un laboratoire de création en lien direct avec le public, à l’écoute de la sérendipité du moment, pour célébrer le vivant, parfaitement imparfait !

STREET SAKURA’ est une exposition qui parle de l’éclosion. Le phénomène de la renaissance est inscrit dans nos cycles intimes comme séculaires, ici il s’agit de rendre sa confiance au vivant après des années de désintégrations intenses : la pandémie de Covid nous a délités, socialement, politiquement, et intérieurement. Pourtant les cerisiers japonais comme les autres ont repris leur floraison printemps après printemps. Ces sakuras si célèbres sont ici le symbole de la glorification positive de l’éphémère, dans sa fragilité comme dans sa force. Être et renaitre à la vie, c’est pour Kotaro « aller dans le monde rugueux, se heurter à son noir et blanc chaotique qui me réconforte ».  Dans un Japon qui s’est refermé sur son insularité pendant de longs mois, Kotaro a continué de shooter la rue, les rues, à Tokyo, Nagoya ou encore Kyoto, où il réside. Dans une rigueur, une assiduité, une jeunesse et une force qui ont interpelé di Nunzio James. L’artiste a alors invité Kotaro à son premier voyage en Europe pour partager sa résidence à Kunst Kan. Ils en parlaient depuis de nombreuses années de cette rencontre importante entre le jeune japonais autodidacte épris de Godard et de Gainsbourg, et le Prix de Rome inlassablement tourné vers cet empire du soleil levant, à peindre ses huîtres samouraïs et autres pierres de patience. Aujourd’hui c’est un jardin zen et trash, spirituel et punk qu’ils donnent à voir à Amsterdam, lieu de toutes les libertés convergentes.


EA DI NUNZIO JAMES / 1976 France


E.A. di Nunzio James started her career in Haute Couture in Paris, where she learned artistic embroidery. Her practice was then expanded into contemporary art, with embroidered still lives of vegetables and fruit. Alain Sayag, then curator of the photo cabinet of Beaubourg (Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou in Paris) notices her unpublished work, which brings the artist to the Academy of France in Rome, Villa Medici. Di Nunzio James’ work has since been exhibited in China, Italy, The Netherlands and France. A special, comprehensive body of work – photography, painting, installation and writing – which combines work done by hand and with digital tools, in one single movement, hyper-poetic. It is characterized by the tension between modest and familiar tools (smartphone, popular objects, food) and the intense plasticity of the result, in an ecology of the relation to the supposed creative process. Slow art, the richness that emanates from the work, stands out because of her inventiveness; at once edgy for specialists and accessible to everyone.

“(…) I see experimental photos on the border of photography. I see holy, magical, mysterious objects, a stone garden for meditation, gold and sequins for worship, fossilized remains to ward off chthonic ghosts, series of images that must be considered like the beads of a rosary, and aspirations to a light, to the Light. I see a sketch of the world. » MARC LENOT (Blog Le Monde), Preface in Nebulae, E.A. di Nunzio James.

OGATA KOTARO / 1995 Japon


Ogata Kotaro lives in Kyoto, where he taught himself street photography at the age of nineteen. He has developed a radical body of work that is connected to Japanese tradition and to contemporary, humanistic, artistic engagement: scenes of daily life, animals, elements, children – his themes are those of the sensitive celebration of the living. Kotaro’s work stands out because of its maturity. An old soul seems to bring the creative process of the young artist in black and white into movement, which immediately clashes with the supposed darkness of the modern world. He intersperses the rhythm of his intensity with countless live images, while his imaginative power is steeped in Europe, he loves New Wave – Godard is his star –, Gainsbourg and classical music. This culture could lean towards the classical French references of street photographers, Doisneau or Cartier-Bresson, but it is also within post-war Japanese photography that Kotaro’s work should be understood. Hosoe Eikoh, Nagano Shigeichi or even Tanuma Takeyoshi seem to be the guiding line for the discoveries of the young man, for whom this photographic look on life is the only way to stay in it.

“I decided to invite Kotaro for the dialogue out of dedication to my first amazed impression of the discovery of his work. His poise, his liberty, and the immense delicacy needed for his gesture, opened a new look at Japan and his childhood to me. Kotaro is a magical photographer: he never forgets, because he is brave, everything that rises above us, and thus he rises above life. » EA di Nunzio James.