Paul Graham: Empty Heaven


Photographs from Japan 1989 - 1995

Graham’s interest lies in Japan’s recent traumatic history – “a huge collective amnesia” not so much in obvious “mayhem of urban life” photographs that are an obvious choice for many artists. For the reason, his photographs touch a nerve. Photographs of women, shielding or holding their faces, unaware of Graham’s gaze.

By chance we discovered this book with the extra text from the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. Inside is an interview with Paul Graham that provides further depth to his photographic practice and reasoning.

“I remember being struck on my first trip to Japan, when I saw a photograph of Hirohito waving to the crowds, and on his wrist was a Mickey Mouse watch – I mean, this man, this man who was a central figure, axiomatic to Japan’s incredible, at times unbearable past, seemed to have retreated from the world into a second childhood, with his happy watch.

I wanted to explore the link between this willful dream and the shadows of history. Any painful echoes appear to have been wrapped, made bearable, candy coating the psyche against the bitterness of memory.”

Publication date: 1995

Publisher: Scalo

Details: First Edition. Hardcover with dust jacket. Unpaginated

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