Presentation House Gallery
The Polygon Gallery
333 Chesterfield Avenue
North Vancouver, BC V7M 3G9

Kohei Yoshiyuki: The Park


PLEASE BE ADVISED that this exhibition contains graphic material of sexual and provocative nature that is NOT suitable for young and sensitive viewers.


Kohei Yoshiyuki’s photographs taken at night around Tokyo from 1971 to 1979 capture sexual encounters between straight and gay partners, and the voyeurs who stalked them. The newly available infrared-sensitive film and filtered flashbulbs that Yoshiyuki used to disguise his presence result in ghostly, overexposed images. He was able to capture the absorption of his subjects in their illicit activities without disturbing them. Shot surreptitiously and blindly in the dark, these mysterious images are meditations on surveillance. These pictures implicate not only the photographer and his subjects, but also us – in the process of trying to decipher the murky scenes, we become spys too.

Originally a commercial photographer, in the early 1970s Yoshiyuki became fascinated by the prevalence of outdoor sex in Japan, and the voyeuristic onlookers it attracted. The first results of his forays into the bushes of Shinjuku, Yoyogi and Aoyama parks were published as a photo essay in the magazine Weekly Shincho in 1972 and subsequently in several book versions of The Park series. Yoshiyuki’s photographs speak of the cultural anxieties provoked by the invasive presence of surveillance in contemporary life. The degraded and abstracted images of the Love Hotel series were taken from automatic videos in love hotels. The blurry ghosts of sexual contact are registered through a form of electronic voyeurism. Yoshiyuki’s photographs are almost illegible with graphic black and white contrasts, emphasizing how encounters between people and cameras are mediated.

Kohei Yoshiyuki was born in 1946 in Japan, where he currently lives and works. Recently, The Park has been shown internationally at the 2008 Berlin, Gwangju Biennales and in important exhibitions and publications such as Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870 (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Tate Modern, London) and Night Vision: Photography after Dark (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). His photography is represented in many important museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The prints in this exhibition are on loan from Yossi Milo Gallery, New York.

Presentation House Gallery’s bookstore will have a limited number of the 2007 edition of The Park published by Hatje Cantz.


  • Kohei Yoshiyuki, Untitled, 1971, From the series The Park, Gelatin Silver Print © Kohei Yoshiyuki. Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York.

  • East Gallery