The Country of the Rising Sun - Shinji Otani

Weekday 11:00 - 20:00

Saturdays and Holidays 11:00 - 18:30

Sundays and Mondays Closed


The photographs of Shinji Otani

Shinji Otani is a photography genius – an exceptional talent – living in Amsterdam. Last year, his photographic collection The Country of the Rising Sun was awarded the Grand Prix at the Dummy Awards held at the Unseen Photo Fair, which was organized by the Dutch photography museum Foam. He joined with the design duo Our Polite Society and, based on a set of rules, edited, composed and created a highly unique book from photos of buildings and landscapes in Sweden he shot a few years ago.
I had previously been acquainted with the photographs he had taken of interiors, but when I picked up this particular photo collection, I realized just how unique his photos are. This photo collection was without doubt something unique, something not seen before, but what I was most impressed with was the fact that the unique nature of the photographs is almost palpable.
From the paradigm of “straight photo” to the paradigm of a photograph as a work of contemporary art. Photography is undoubtedly rushing headlong into a second phase. When photos “replay” the genesis of photography, the diversity and potential of photographs is set loose. Shinji Otani is in the middle of that maelstrom, but his photos have a much stronger “intrinsic style” than other people’s. It is not “intensity,” nor is it “conceptual.” It is an “intrinsic style.” That is what surfaces when you carefully explore the interior of his photos. It is not like a sculpture, the shape of which is carved out from the outside in. It is like a style that emerges from something that is intrinsic to earth.
Put another way, Shinji Otani photographs are not based on an unnatural or contrived style, nor on borrowed concepts. They are based on the “reason or logic within the photo.” I myself would like to call this a “style.” His photos transcend his own individual logic and are not the result of some kind of borrowed logic. They are the result of the logic of the photo that has detached itself from human conditions. It is thinking in this way that will enable you to comprehend the nature of his photographs and his creation of the photo collection.

I'm now looking forward to a monumental work of his in which he has photographed the canals of Holland. The reason or logic of his photos and the reason or logic of the history/city of Amsterdam. How will they overlap? What kind of style will he show us next?

SHIGEO GOTO (Editor / Professor of Kyoto University of Art and Design)


Shinji Otani

Born 1972 in the Shiga prefecture.
After having practiced ceramics in Japan, Otani moved to the Netherlands. It was here that he graduated from the Photography Department of Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, in 2007.
Otani was been a finalist in the Epson Art Photo Award (Germany), the Steenbergen Stipendium (Netherlands), and the Raymond Weil Photo Award (Switzerland). He is also the winner of the Unseen Unpublished Dummy Award for 2012. This led to publication of his debut photo book “The Country of the Rising Sun,” which he presented at Offprint Paris 2013.
Otani was a jury member for the 2013 Unseen Award, together with Todd Hido and Jörg Colberg. His work is part of the collection for the Foam Fotografie Museum, Amsterdam.
Otani currently resides and works in Amsterdam.


The Country of the Rising Sun
Shinji Otani

Date : 6 December, 2013 - 28 December, 2013
Time : Weekday 11:00 - 20:00 / Saturdays and Holidays 11:00 - 18:30
Closed : Sundays and Mondays (Except for Holidays)
Entrance Fee : 800 yen / 500yen for students (Gallery916 & 916small)

Shinji Otani, the photographs For enquiries regarding
the purchase of the photographs, please contact the gallery.
TEL: +81-(3)-5403-9161 / FAX: +81-(3)-5403-9162
MAIL: mail[a]