Onishi Gallery is proud to present photographer Tetsuro Sato in his solo show, Hengao, a presentation of photos from the artist’s collection.
Hengao (変顔), translates to “funny face”. In Tetsuro Sato’s work, Japanese models pose for the camera holding a variety of glassware ranging from lenses to vessels. Inspired by the Japanese phenomena purikura (プリクラ), where young girls take pocket sized photos of themselves, Sato himself takes the place of the photo booth. The artist prefers not to edit or distort the film, but lets abstraction occur through the props and body language.
By having the models’ gaze mediated through glass, Sato’s work explores (with a sense of humor) the traditional power structure between viewer and subject. In front of a black background, limbs, eyes, and faces reflect, refract and transcend traditional photo-portraiture. Instead of a passive one-way relationship, Tetsuro Sato encourages the viewer to seek out the beauty in the model, which is often exaggerated to strange proportions. Like the girls in Yoshitomo Nara’s work, the end result is something alien, humorous, and wistful.
Tetsuro Sato was born in Shiga, Japan in 1946. After graduating from Nihon University in 1969, he became the art director and photographer of the Toppan Printing Company. In 1987 he established the Sugarl studio and has had a series of shows in Tokyo and Osaka.