Empty Gallery is a 4,500 sq. ft. black-cube space located at the edge of Aberdeen Harbor in Tin Wan, Hong Kong.
Founded by Stephen Cheng, the gallery showcases both established and emerging artists alongside a program of pioneering multimedia commissions, performances and music.
With a special commitment to ephemeral, time-based and non-objectoriented practices, Empty Gallery is committed to fostering conversation across cultural, geographic, and medium-specific boundaries while serving as a regional hub for the flourishing East Asian art scene.
Everything Visible Is Empty
Closing Reception + Screening | Funeral Parade Of Roses
18 November 2017, 5:30 - 9pm
RSVP at email@example.com
Empty Gallery is pleased to present a screening of Toshio Matsumoto’s Funeral Parade of Roses (1969), newly restored 4K version, in conjunction with the closing of our exhibition Toshio Matsumoto: Everything Visible Is Empty.
Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion featuring Ulanda Blair (Curator of Moving Image, M+), Hera Chan (Director, Videotage), Taro Nettleton (Temple University Japan), and Hirofumi Sakamoto - the late filmmaker’s archivist.
Toshio Matsumoto’s shattering, kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive and intoxicating films of the late 1960s: a headlong dive into a dazzling, unseen Tokyo night-world of drag queen bars and fabulous divas, fueled by booze, drugs, fuzz guitars, performance art and black mascara. No less than Stanley Kubrick cited the film as a direct influence on his own dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange. An unknown club dancer at the time, transgender actor Peter (from Kurosawa’s Ran) gives an astonishing Edie Sedgwick/Warhol superstar-like performance as hot young thing Eddie, hostess at Bar Genet — where she’s ignited a violent love-triangle with reigning drag queen Leda (Osamu Ogasawara) for the attentions of club owner Gonda (played by Kurosawa regular Yoshio Tsuchiya, from Seven Samurai and Yojimbo). One of Japan’s leading experimental filmmakers, Matsumoto bends and distorts time here like Resnais in Last Year at Marienbad, freely mixing documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, his own avant-garde shorts, and even on-screen cartoon balloons, into a dizzying whirl of image + sound. Featuring breathtaking black-and-white cinematography by Tatsuo Suzuki that rivals the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe, Funeral Parade of Roses offers a frank, openly erotic and unapologetic portrait of an underground community of drag queens. Whether laughing with drunken businessmen, eating ice cream with her girlfriends, or fighting in the streets with a local girl gang, Peter’s ravishing Eddie is something to behold. “She has bad manners, all she knows is coquetry,” complains her rival Leda – but in fact, Eddie’s bad manners are simply being too gorgeous for this world. Her stunning presence, in bell-bottom pants, black leather jacket and Brian Jones hair-do, is a direct threat to the social order, both in the Bar Genet and in the streets of Tokyo. This key work of the Japanese New Wave and of queer cinema, Funeral Parade of Roses is now beautifully restored in 4k from the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements.
Exhibition | Toshio Matsumoto: Everything Visible Is Empty
9 September - 18 November 2017
Empty Gallery is pleased to present Toshio Matsumoto: Everything Visible Is Empty, a retrospective exhibition of the late experimental filmmaker and visual theorist, examining arguably his most fertile creative period: the years 1960 to 1979. Emerging from the same post-war creative ferment as counter-cultural figures like playwright Shuji Terayama, pop artist Tadanori Yokoo, and novelist Yukio Mishima, Matsumoto’s work remains strikingly relevant today - both for its precocious formal experimentation and its commitment to a deeply personal vision of radical politics.
For this exhibition, Empty Gallery has worked closely with the late artist’s archivist in order to present a selection of rarely screened works including Matsumoto’s early documentaries Nishijin and Song of Stone, his landmark expanded cinema work for three projectors, For The Damaged Right Eye, and a selection of his influential abstract short films - all in newly restored versions. Eschewing an organizational approach based on stylistic or chronological development, Everything Visible Is Empty instead seeks to embrace Matsumoto’s critique of “the visible” as a structuring principle, presenting an arrangement of works from different eras and contexts which are nevertheless connected through their shared inquiry into the social construction of history and the agency of the subject within this construction. Considered by no less an authority than new-wave director Nagisa Oshima as his only rival for aesthetic and ideological influence within Japan’s dynamic scene of post-war image makers, Toshio Matsumoto’s films and theoretical writings form an essential but often overlooked contribution to the global history of experimental film and video art which has only just begun to be re-evaluated in recent years.
Toshio Matsumoto (1932-2017) was a Japanese film director, video artist, and visual theorist who was widely considered a pivotal figure of Japan’s post-war artistic avant-garde. He first came to prominence through his collaboration with artist collective Jikken Kobo on the film Ginrin in 1955, initiating a career-long interest in experimental sound and electronic music which would be reflected in his output over the next few decades. He subsequently created an eclectic body of work comprising experimental documentaries, structuralist films, and early video art while continuing to be influential as a critic, theorist, and educator. Recent presentations of Matsumoto’s work have included “The World Goes Pop” at Tate Modern and “Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde” at MoMa.