January 2008

Hiroshi Watanabe

[artist website]

Newspace is pleased to announce the inaugural exhibition of photographer Hiroshi Watanabe’s stunning new series “Ideology in Paradise,” photographs from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This body of work is a rare and beautifully wrought glimpse into a largely off-limits country. Despite being attended at all times by government appointed handlers, Watanabe has managed to capture refreshingly candid moments amid the controlled pageantry usually presented to outsiders. In two lines of red kerchiefed, uniformed schoolgirls we see one touchingly grumpy pout; in another, we see a soldier in full dress enjoying a free moment on a futuristic looking carnival ride; throughout, we see ruddy cheeks and the ever present imagery of Great Leader Kim Il Sung and his son, Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.

Hiroshi Watanabe was born in Sapporo, Japan. He graduated from Department of Photography, College of Art, at Nihon University in 1975. He moved to Los Angeles after graduation and became involved in the production of TV commercials, eventually working as a producer. He received an MBA from UCLA Business School in 1993. In 1995 his passion for photography rekindled, and since then he has traveled worldwide extensively. In 2000 he closed the production company in order to devote himself entirely to art and became a full time photographer. His work has been published around the world and has been exhibited in many galleries across the United States and Japan.

This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust.