Tokio: Ōraisha, . Octavo (19.9 × 15.5 cm). Publisher’s pictorial embossed cloth boards with two mounted photographic prints; 154 pp. Lacking the slipcase; trace of bookstore stamp to front pastedown; ffep tanned; else very good. Item #6328
This important Japanese anthology of modernist architecture, art, design, and its precursors is one of several collaborations between art theorist Itagaki Takao and photographer Horino Masao, two key players in Japanese modernism and the New Photography movement. Among the illustrations are photographs of buildings by Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe, artworks by El Lissitzky and Vladimir Tatlin, and film stills by Man Ray and Hans Richter. Itagaki, considered the foremost proponent of modernism in pre-war Japan, had “studied in Europe and been exposed to German visual sensibility, particularly the New Objectivity movement led by Franz Roh. After returning to Japan, Itagaki began publishing essays promoting an art of mechanical civilization in all genres of expression” (Joe Takeba, The History of Japanese Photography, p. 146). Another important collaboration between Itagaki and Horino, a collection of photographs of mechanical structures was published under the title Camera: Eye × Steel: Composition (1932).
Masao Horino, one of the most important Japanese photographers, began experimenting with photography while he was a student at Tokyo Higher Technical School, becoming a major player in the New Photography movement. Inspired by Soviet post-revolutionary thought, he “sought to develop the social and documentary function of photography.” Along with other left-leaning avant-garde artists such as Murayama Tomoyoshi, Asano Mofu, and Nakatogawa Shuichi, Horino established the International Photography Association (Kokusai Koga Kyokai), which brought the work of major European artists and photographers to Japan (Kaniko Kyuichi, The History of Japanese Photography, p. 188). The Bauhaus-inspired design of this book, linen backed and embossed with two collages, as well as all typography and layout, are by Horino. Ryuichi and Heiting, The Japanese Photobook, No. 42. KVK, OCLC only show the copy at the National Diet Library.