PHOTOS: The erotic imagery of Japanese photographer Yone


YONEHARA YASUMA -- or just Yone, to his international legions of fans -- is a singular figure in Japanese photography, fashion, and culture. His photographs of porn stars, pinups, and amateur models are genuinely erotic, even as they draw attention to the complexities and dark undercurrents of desire. In one recent series of photographs, he begins with half-naked girls and then abstracts through repetition, leaving behind sequential images of intertwined limbs that take on a kind of cumulative, fishnetty architectural beauty. His images have recently been adapted for a line of watches for ultra-rad NYC brand FLuD,a run of limited-edition sneakers from Greedy Genius, and a set of Zippo lighters.

30 IMAGES: Click here for a slideshow of Yonehara Yasuma's exhibit at Boston's Fourth Wall Project

Yone's work is ubiquitous in Japan and highly sought after abroad, but he has also become a cottage industry and one-man culture factory. He's curated a Tokyo show for Nan Goldin, throws parties with Lindsay Lohan and uber-hip French DJ label Ed Banger, and did so much to popularize the Cheki -- a Japanese instamatic that's comparable to the Polaroid -- that Fuji created a sub-brand of film stock specifically for him. Earlier this year, Fuji also collaborated with Yone on two new versions of the Cheki -- one of them a Hello Kitty model aimed at children.

The Cheki and its 2-by-2 inch snapshots are Yone's favored metier, but for his most recent exhibit -- which opens on Friday at Boston's Fourth Wall Project in the Fenway -- Yone chose, for the first time, to show large-format prints based on the snapshots. This was needed, he explained the other day at the Gallery, because he'd started to do the legs -- and legs are harder to show in a small format. Yone speaks decent English, but occasionally makes use of a translator. He enthuiastically showed a visitor some of the work that led to his legs series: he'd previously created a series in which he'd used images of women's limbs -- some shot by himself, and some taken from decade-old Japanese girlie mags -- to create a new typography, with which he'd  fashioned provocative slogns. "Be Horny Not War," reads one (which became the title of his Boston exhibit). Another says, "Bitches always be bitches."

Though Yone's ventures are closely watched by the world's trend-spotting cognoscenti (Warp, in Japan; Dazed and Confused in the UK; Hypebeast, in America, where he also blogs)
his show in Boston is an exceedingly rare opportunity to see his work, as it were, in the flesh -- and given the scale, this is work that rewards close inspection. The artist will also be present for the opening party at Fourth Wall on Friday. 


YONE: Be Horny Not War
December 11-February 1
@ Fourth Wall Project, 132 Brookline Avenue, Boston


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