Kill the Pig

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the(M)éditions / IBASHO, 2021. Edition of 1,000 copies.
Hardcover in transparent slipcase., 84 pp., b/w and color illustrated, 245 x 325 mm. Photographs by Masahisa Fukase. Text by Tomo Kosuga (English / Japanese). Design by Main Studio.

In 1961, Masahisa Fukase's first solo exhibition, Kill the Pig, was held in Tokyo. The exhibition featured two series of photographs: one titled Kill the Pig and the other titled Naked.

The Kill the Pig series revealed photographs taken at a slaughterhouse in Shibaura, Tokyo, and consisted of black and white and color photographs. The other series on display, Naked, showed footage of Fukase himself and his then-partner, Yukiyo Kawakami.

However, one of the photographs in the exhibition stood out from the rest, a very contrasting work which consists of two prints, one positive, the other negative, two inverted black and white images, presented face to face. This stillborn baby is Fukase and Yukiyo's first child. In the exhibition, this work is clearly highlighted, as a point of reference for all other images. It seems that Fukase tried through this image to emphasize, in positive and negative, the cruelty and the interconnection between life and death.

This book brings together in a single volume the photographs which appeared in that exhibition. As he explains in his essay, Tomo Kosuga considers these images, which remained in the shadows for many years, as the starting point of Fukase's photographic practice.

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