Ars Cameralis Silesiae Superioris

Simon Yotsuya and Friends, or Bellmer in Japan

„Simon Youtsuya’s dolls do not direct their gaze in any specific direction, neither do they express any emotions. They are to portray not a form of a specific human, but a form of a human being as such.” Takio Sugawara

One can try to sucessfully try to fit many theories to Simon Youtsuya's art. But Simon is a lot more than just dolls, Bellmer's influence and his original artistic output following therefrom it is also a specific intellectual attitude clearly drawing on the cultural ferment of the 1960's. It was then when Japanese began to consciously look under the lining of so-called high culture which congealed in smooth conventions, contributed little, did not react to the changing reality, demanded re-evaluation. 

/ Sławomir Rumiak

About the authors:

Simon Yotsuya / Kanemitsu Kobayashi (born in 1944) — the creator of modern formula of a Japanese doll inspired directly by the work of Hans Bellmer. For many years, he was associated as an actor with the avant-garde „Jokyo Gekijo"/ „Situation Theatre” which found its symbolic recapitulation in Eikoh Hosoe’s photographic cycle entilted „The Prelude of Simon Yotsuya”. The fascination with the doll dates back to 1965 when Yotsuya read an article by Tatsuhika Shibusawa. In 1978, Yotsuya set up Ecole de Simon, a school where young artist continue the puppeteer tradition initiated by the artist whose works are simultaneously exhibited worldwide. In 2010, an exhibition entilted „Simon Yotsuya and Friends, or Bellmer in Japan” took place in the Silesian Museum in Katowice and the Centre of Contemporary Art „Kronika”. Silesian exhibition, initiated by Cultural Institution Ars Cameralis, was of special and exceptional significance for Yotsuya since he treats it as a kind of a pilgrimage to the city of his Master — Sensei

Kishin Shinoyama (born in 1940) — a Japanese photographer whose creative output for more than 40 years has featured the issue of transformation of time. At the end of the 1960’s, he produced  cycles of black-and-white photography: „The Birth”, „Twin” and „Death Valley”, thanks to which he entered the ranks of the most prominent artist in the Land of Cherry Blossom. Shinoyama is an author of many photographs which have became the icons of the world culture, among others, it was him who rendered John Lennon’s kiss with Yoko Ono immortal, while his book „Water Fruits” is the best-selling photo-album in Japan.  

Eikoh Hosoe (born in 1933) —  an artist photographer, recognised and valued worldwide, occupies a permanent place in the history of Japanese photography in the eyes of critics. In the 1960’s he marked his exceptional position with the cycles created cycles „Barakei” and „Kamaitachi”. In 1971 Hosoe entered into collaboration with Yotsuya. Their cooperation yielded effects in the form of series of photographs „The Prelude of Yotsuya Simon”.

Tatsuhiko Shibusawa (1928—1987) — a writer, thinker, art critic, and translator, active during the Era of Enlightened Peace period in Japan. An author of many novels and short stories inspired by Japanese and French classics. His first book in his output as a translator was „Le Grand Ecart” Jean Cocteau. The 1959 publication of his translation of de Sade’s „Juliette, or Vice Amply Awarded” caused (like in many other countries) a moral scandal which ended as a court case and a fine. Drawing his inspiration from the works of de Sade and other French writers, he became an expert on Medieval demonology. 

Details of publication:

Texts: Stanisław Ruksza, Sławomir Rumiak, Marek ZielińskiTakio Sugawara

Edited by: Marek Zieliński

Graphic design: Katarzyna Bochenek

Translation: Grzegorz Kozłowski

Publisher: Cultural Institution Ars Cameralis Silesiae Superioris

Year and place of publishing: Katowice 2010

Bilingual edition: Polish and English 


The publication was prepred for the „Simon Yotsuya and Friends, or Bellmer in Japan” exhibition presented in the Silesian Museum in Katowice and the Centre of Contemporary Art „Kronika”, on October 1—31 2010. 

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Simon Yotsuya and Friends, or Bellmer in Japan

  • Author: joint publication
  • Page number : 42
  • Sizes: 17,5cmx12cm
  • Category: Catalogue

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