Some very private images here from Kohei Yoshikuyi his 1970s series The Park which began as he strolled through a park one night, only to stumble upon groups of men and women copulating in the bushes. Voyeurism at its most powerful, these images speak of an entire underground society that comes to life at night, of silk shirts and flares, of grass stains and flashbulbs in the dark.
The crowds of men you see loitering beneath trees all appear to be wearing white, which makes them look ghostly in the darkness of the park, something that only adds to the feeling that this club speaks of days long gone by – you were not part of it then, and probably still shouldn’t be.
At Open Eye gallery, the photographs have been exhibited in a pitch-black room that only a few voyeurs are permitted to enter at any one time, each with a torch given to them at the entrance. The effect of shining your very own flashlight on to these writhing bodies, just as Kohei did on that balmy night in the 1970s is electrifying, and makes the experience all the more personal.
The Park is currently being exhibited at Liverpool’s beautiful Open Eye Gallery as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2012 and is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
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