»Japanese Lesson« started in 2009 as a zine and projection – an associative mash-up containing material interesting for a ‚search for Japan‘. Ever since the projection is growing, and
»Japanese Lesson« is developping — including works about music- and subculture, discrimination/activism/politics/borders, urbanism/city developpement or Olympia 2020. »Japanese Lesson« also brings together individual works by Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber regarding music- and subculture and other works they produced since their first artist residency in Osaka in 2006.
In this project information you find information about Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber, their works regarding Japan, about the current state of »Japanese Lesson«: images and publications or zines each with a different focus, different versions of exhibitions and a video projection.
Japanese Lesson is a project by Katja Stuke (*1968) and Oliver Sieber (*1966), both live and work in Düsseldorf, Germany. They work together since 1999.
Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber have become international traveling salesmen in the field of photography, who feel more at home on the road than they do in their atelier in Düsseldorf. Like no other German artists of their generation, they have portrayed the everyday culture of Japan in their works or turned the mythic locations of film into a subject of photography. (Florian Ebner, 2011)
In 2015 an exhibition of »Japanese Lesson« at the Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf focused on the topic of protest and activism including photographs, video-projection, toys and publications.
The show alsoincluded the film »Diamond hour« (1994, by D.K. Uragi starring Ms. Glorias, Teiji Furuhashi and Bubu de la Madeleine/Dump Type) and several documentary videos of performances by ChimPom)
During a residency in Tokyo in 2017 they continued working on the aspects of art
and activism, focussing on political landscape urban development, changes in cities,
the influence of society and politics on how our environment constantly changes.
Since 2005 we have been traveling to Japan, working on topics like subculture, music, surveillance and more.
Since 2011 we are developing the Japanese Lesson. At the beginning it was a projection including our own photographs from the first years — juxtaposed with found footage: images and drawing from mangas and animes, still images from japanese movies,
historical and current photographs – things we where interested in at that time.
At the moment the Lesson can be: different versions of exhibitions, different zines or
publications each with a different focus; or maybe a sound installation in the future—
who knows. (Our main understanding of Japanese Lesson: things we learn ‚in search for Japan‘ and can pass on. It will continue – this recent book is not the final or only result.
In the last years (since Fukushima) we met artists and activist, became friends — and
through them we understood more and more about Japanese society and history, we joined rallies and protests . (»Tokyo No hate« 68 pages, 19 x 27 cm, black and white
For the extensive new book »Japanese Lesson« we took photographs while walking on the borders of certain neighborhoods in Osaka and Tokyo which still have to deal with prejudices and discrimination because of several (historic and present) reasons. While walking around these areas we where thinking and discussing topics like ‚political landscapes’, ‚borders‘ how a neighborhood can define your identity, ‚who owns the cities’… and more.
We also walked around parts of Tokyo which currently change for the future, mainly
because of the 2020 Olympic Games. In the book the topics of ‚changing cities in the
past and in the future’ are brought together.
On each of all our walks we took images around on a regular basis – depending on time or distance.
The black pages in this book include the missing images from other missing districs – put on top of each other until they became quite black.
There is a third small publication »A Colour Guide« showing details of architecture and
nature. We where wondering if there are similarities between the colors in old parts (‚deep Japan’) of japanese cities and the 63 colors of Le Corbusier.