Fumio Tanai, Signs, Student 1, 2006, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
Fumio Tanai, Signs, Soldier, 2006, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
Fumio Tanai, Signs, Artist, 2006, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
Fumio Tanai, Signs, Bartender, 2006, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
Fumio Tanai, Signs, Translator, 2006, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
Fumio Tanai, Signs, Photographer, 2006, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
Fumio Tanai, Signs, Painter, 2006, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
Fumio Tanai, Signs, Performance Artist, 2006, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Press Release

Photographs from Fumio Tanai’s Signs  series will be on view at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery March 13th through April 25th, 2008.  This is Fumio Tanai’s first solo exhibition at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery.  There will be an opening reception on March 13th from 6-9pm.

"The relationship between existence, place and identity has become a common human theme," writes Fumio Tanai.  "I lived in London from 2005-2006 and got to know people of diverse nationalities with various views of the world, including doctors, students, hairdressers and teachers….I began to photograph them in their own rooms.  I had them sit down on a chair and turn to the front diagonally.  Although this process of photography was made "law," whereby the freedom of expression was restrained, through this method I trust the arbitrary sight of the subject and at the same time regulate it.  Consequently, these images can be compared.  I made 100 portraits."

In Japan, the color gray is sometimes called "IKI," and speaks to a fundamental sense of quiet sadness, encouragement of simplicity, and rejection of gaudiness.  In Tanai's Signs, both the literal and pschological interior spaces of the subject are explored though precise composition and continuous gray, signature styles of Tanai, emphasizing the mimesis between the person and his room.

Since the beginning of his career, Fumio Tanai has explored the role of photography in connecting the self to others, demonstrating an enigmatic appeal and a tale of harmony that allows us to penetrate social reality.  His street photography manages to capture the sensitivity of ordinary people as well as the depth of their identities.  His photographic language expresses an innovative way of seeing, and the combined faces and rooms in his Signs series give a realistic approach to the essence of being.

Born in Tokyo, Fumio Tanai received his degree in Photography from Tokyo Polytechnic University, where he studied under notable Japanese photographer and filmmaker Eikoh Hosoe.  Fumio Tanai’s encounter with Daido Moriyama was also decisive for the young photographer.  Receiving an Art Fellowship from the Japanese Government, Fumio Tanai lived in China in 1996 and London in 2005-2006.  His extensive international projects done in China, England, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan have been exhibited in Japan and France since 1990.  His work can be found in the public collections of Bibliotèque nationale de France in Paris, Hungary Japan Museum in Budapest, and the Echizen Paper & Culture Museum of Japan.