Chromophotographic Game, 2018

Exhibition Title: Chromophotographic Game
as one of the opening program of Tokyographie 2018

Venue: FUJIFILM SQUARE, Tokyo, Japan
Period: 26 October – 8 November 2018

Exhibited series:
A Game, Ravens: Noctambulant Flight, Color Approach,
Chromophotographic Scenes, Raven Scenes, Private Scenes, Hibi

Curation by Tomo Kosuga
Scenography by Osamu Ouchi


This exhibition, Chromophotographic Game, restages the first domestic retrospective of Masahisa Fukase’s Play, which was shown as part of the main program at KYOTOGRAPHIE 2018, with a focus on the artist’s color photographs. We are especially proud to present the entirety of Fukase’s works in his own original prints, with the exception of Color Approach and Ravens: Noctambulant Flight, for which no original prints exist.

   Largely known for his black-and-white series Ravens, Family, and Sasuke, Fukase was also an avid color photographer from the very start of his career. Discoloration and poor preservation always proved problematic with color prints, however, and, having helped out at his family’s photo business from an early age, Fukase was never satisfied with lab technicians’ color prints or even his own. “Call it force of habit or idiosyncrasy or personality,” he said, “the prankster in me demands a certain handmade taste.” So he kept on experimenting.

   In 1985, two years after he was given access to a large-format 20 x 24-inch Polaroid camera, he hit upon the novel idea of substituting Polaroid film for color photographic paper and used this technique for the series Choromophotography Scenes, which was published in Nippon Camera (September 1985). This unique approach to color printing further led him to apply color directly to black-and-white prints. For his February 1992 solo show Private Scenes ’92, at the Ginza Nikon Salon, Fukase covered the walls with some 450 prints, most of them hand-colored by the artist himself. Reminiscent of 19th century hand-tinted albumen prints, this way of working clearly brought out the playful prankster’s “handmade taste.”

   In tracing Fukase’s repeated trial-and-error experiments with color from the 1960s to the 1990s, we hope to shed new light on Fukase’s previously overlooked Chromophotographic Game.

Fukase’s Color Approach was featured as the main image of the Tokyographie 2018