Dead morbid - or fatally attractive?

Story by Jack Foley

ART enthusiasts may feel fatally attracted to a new exhibition just opened at f a projects, in Bear Gardens, SE1, by Japanese photographer Izima Kaoru despite its morbid subject matter.

Entitled 'Landscapes with a Corpse', the exhibition captures images of the 'perfect death', thanks to a unique collaboration between the photographer and his subjects, usually actresses and models.

The collaboration extends to location, the actress’ outfit and the manner of her death and Kaoru then constructs the scenes and shoots a series of images from the panoramic to the close-up.

Initially shot in Japan with Japanese models, wearing outfits by the likes of Yohji Yamamoto, Hermès or Prada, Kaoru has this year begun to make works in the series in Europe, working with European models, most recently in Munich, with Barbara Rudnik, and in France with Helena Noguerra and Aure Atika. For this exhibition Karou will exhibit works from these recent series.

‘Landscapes with a Corpse’ is said to assert the artists’ firm belief that death be viewed as an integral part of life, rather than its opposite. The images are said to harness the power of their troubling conjunction of beauty and horror. They consider the part that notions of death and beauty play in the Japanese culture and psyche, and, in extending their practice to the West, negotiate the slippage between Western and Japanese cultural tropes.

Undoubtedly one of the most striking images on show - which can also be viewed by clicking through to the f a projects website using the above link - is that of a nubile woman lying in a field, her face pointing skywards (right).

It would be easy to presume, at a glance, that she is day dreaming, but then you notice the scarlet slash across her neck and the realisation of what is being depicted sinks in. Japanese photographer Izima Kaoru works with his models to stage their fantasy of "a perfect death". In spite of their neat bullet wounds, these corpses are young, pretty and clad head-to-toe in designer labels. Anticipate beautiful melodrama rather than a gory forensic-lab aesthetic. In the project space, Jo Mitchell shows her appropriately themed text-based work - the word Suicide spelled out in swirly, graffiti graphics. fa Projects, SE1, 10am- 6pm Tuesday- Friday, 11am-4pm Saturday, 020 7928 3228.

In the autumn of 2002 Kaoru’s work will be included in the exhibition 'Rapture: Art's Seduction by Fashion, 1970 – 2001', at the Barbican. Recent exhibitions include the Netherlands Photo Institute, Rotterdam, Von Lintel and Nusser, New York and Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris. His work is represented in collections internationally.

Izima Kaoru, Landscapes with a Corpse - March 7 - April 20
f a projects, Bear Gardens, off Park Street, SE1.

Access by car: Park Street meets Southwark Street, east of Southwark Bridge Road. There is no access to Park Street from Sumner Street. There are parking meters close to the gallery.

By train or underground: The gallery is close to Cannon Street (British rail and District and Circle Lines), Southwark (Jubilee Line), London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern Lines), and Mansion House (District and Circle Lines).

By bus: Bus numbers 381and 344 pass close to the gallery, on the south side of Southwark Bridge. Buses 17 21 35 40 43 47 48 133 149 501 521 run to the south foot of London Bridge. North of the river, buses 15 and 23 run close by.