KG+ 2024





The theme of this year's KYOTOGRAPHIE is 'SOURCE'.
The first "source" of a newborn baby's first drink is its mother’s breast.

From the Venus of Willendorf, dating from 20,000 BC, to Roman statues and contemporary art such as Delacroix's Liberty leading the People, the breast is a recurring motif in works of art and is a theme that is emphasized. Symbols of fertility, motherhood, freedom and eroticism, they are shown or hidden, depending on the period, culture and fashion.

As I walked around Kyoto visiting famous temples, shrines and other ancient buildings, my gaze stopped at the doors. On most of them, a pair of protrusions reminiscent of the shape of a woman's breast. Was this imaginary due to my misjudgment, or was it a deliberate symbol? After several searches for the answer, the name was unmistakably 'chikanamono' (乳金物, chichikanamono) meaning « breast hardware ». This is no coincidence. And even if it had a real function of 'covering', it now seems to be just an ornament.

What about Tokyo?
Walking around the streets of Ginza and Shinjuku, you will not find any 'milk metal'. Instead, there are water outlets (fire extinguishing equipment)... However, the fact that these have a 'feminine' form is not intentional, but only accidental. They are heavy, hard, chained and kind of robotic. They come in many different colours, shapes, some are old and some are missing. They look like human beings.

Compare Kyoto and Tokyo. Am I the only one who sees a contrast between the traditional, simple, natural, warmth of Kyoto-MUNE with its wood (doors) and the colder, stronger, chained-up prisoners of the city, Tokyo-MUNE, like Fritz Lang's Metropolis? Is it just me or do these two femininities seem to be contrasted?

Curated by Philippe BERGONZO
Powered by OFF SHOT

A French-Japanese artist unit formed in 2009 and based in Japan. Using a variety of techniques including painting, photography, video and objects, they observe, explore and reflect on the world of 'Femininity'. The series « Pretty War » has attracted a lot of attention abroad.


90 Tanakakamiyanagi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto