The Imaginary Republic

The Imaginary Republic


Publisher: Zen Foto Gallery

"Pawel Jaszczuk's mental images, aroused by the subject, are mediated by photography and reconstructed inside my head. Provocative and stimulating, Pawel Jaszczuk's work unsettles the viewer. It is fascinating, uncomfortable, a drug. People who can only see the images collected here at a surface level, or people who have a deep understanding but make a political choice to speak superficially, may critique them as symbolizing the distortion of a pornographic, pathological, discriminatory Japanese culture. That is one answer, and the form of those people reflected in the mirror.

However, more judicious people start to wonder, 'Why? Why did Pawel Jaszczuk capture these sights?' They then question what the images of 'girls', drawn on these posters, mean. [...] People whose sexual desire increases in response to drawn 'girls', equally to those who view them with knitted brows, are mentally decoding neutral images and applying them to their own context. This is a critical activity, as well as a politics of asking what I myself am seeing and how I am seeing it. In this sense, drawn expressions like these are the 'mirror image of the viewer'.

[...] Pornography resembles interacting with an imaginary friend that exists only inside of personal fantasy. The otaku of Japan, men and women alike, are residents of a realm of images. [...] These men and women live shuttling back and forth between imaginary lands and the real world. [...] It is not the case that we live only in the world of reality. We live in the imaginary republic."

— Excerpts from the contribution essay to "The Imaginary Republic" by Kaoru Nagayama


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Book Size
210 × 150 mm
98 pages, 66 images
Publication Year
English, Japanese
Limited Edition

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