Location: Palazzo Guinigi, Via Sant’Andrea 43
Opening times: Monday – Thursday 3pm – 7:30pm / Friday – Sunday 10am – 7: 30pm
SEIICHI FURUYA – FACE TO FACE (1978-1985)
Seiichi Furuya and Christine Gössler met for the first time at the opening of a photo exhibition at the Forum Stadtpark, in Graz, Austria, on February 17, 1978. A few days later, Seiichi took courage and invited her to the cinema to see a movie. From there, their relationship quickly took off and in June of the same year, they got married in Seiichi’s hometown Izu, in Japan. Since the beginning of their relationship, Seiichi meticulously recorded their courtship through his camera. He shot the moments they spent together and created intimate portraits of his beloved: from the first timid approaches trying to get to know each other to the numerous trips taken together, up to the birth of their child Komyo-Klaus in 1981.
From 1981 onwards, the family began frequent relocations: in 1982 they moved to Vienna so that Christine could study drama; in 1984 Seiichi took a job as an interpreter and the family moved to Dresden, East Germany; and then in 1985, they settled down in East Berlin.
In the midst of this constant moving and raising their child, Christine began to show symptoms of schizophrenia. In 1983 she entered a hospital in Graz for treatment; she had to interrupt her acting studies and had been hospitalized from time to time.
Shortly after noon on October 7, 1985, the 36th anniversary of the founding of the German Democratic Republic, Christine threw herself out of a window on the ninth floor of the apartment building where the family lived.
This tragic episode scarred the lives of Seiichi and his son, but his love for Christine didn’t stop. In an attempt to get over her death, Seiichi dredged up the numerous photos in his archives that he had taken of Christine and their shared moments over the seven years they spent together. He then compiled a large body of work which resulted in five books, from 1989 to 2010, that were all entitled Mémoires. These publications are a reflection of Seiichi’s reprocessed memory of his relationship with Christine.
In 2018, he found negatives from a pocket camera, as well as color negatives from a 35mm camera, shot by Christine, who herself was passionate about art and an amateur photographer. This material was the starting point for the book Face to Face, 1978-1985, published by Chose Commune in 2020. Here, for the first time, Seiichi confronts the images taken by him with those taken by Christine, sometimes in the very same moments, with the aim of having her acknowledged as a creator herself. In this collection of images, Christine’s gaze intertwines with that of Seiichi, who now lends himself to the game of being the observed subject as well. Indeed, while the visual labor of memory that Seiichi compiled through Mémoires is a ceaseless attempt to elaborate his mourning, by letting his face enter the frame of their love story, Face to Face suggests that this endless research by the author could also be read as the wish to find traces of himself, and the role he had in the memories of their life together.
This project recounts their seven-year relationship through a visual dialogue that is expressed in almost perfectly matching diptychs. In the exhibition, presented at Photolux Festival for a world premiere, the viewer finds himself immersed in this intimate journey back in time, witnessing the unfolding of a love story where photography plays a fundamental role: it dusts off buried memories, allowing the past to be reconstructed, and at the same time it creates new memories influenced by perspective and the passing of time.