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Keichi Nitta in Milan

Everyday is Like Sunday, the first solo exhibition by the Japanese photographer.

About 250 photographs, mostly taken in New York between 1997 and 2006, are on show in the first solo exhibition 32-year-old Japanese photographer Keiichi Nitta, hosted at the GoGallery in Milan. On the walls are numerous self-portraits depicting Keiichi's transformist and playful attitude, bizarre details and situations, and also a big section dedicated to his late cat, which, according to the artist's words, was the great-grandson of Jimi Hendrix'cat. The exhibition also sees the launch of Nitta's first book, published by GoBooks in a limited edition of 500 copies.

Dazed Digital: Everyday is like Sunday is the title of your first solo exhibition, and it's also the name of your blog. What does this statement mean for you?
Keiichi Nitta: It's the title of a Morrissey's song, which is one of my favourite ever. It means for me that everyday we have to hang out like on Sunday. You know, people work too much, especially in Japan they always work and work, and they don't hang out, so everyday like Sunday is good.

DD: So, you're a big fan of Morrissey?

KN: Yes, I am. I went to his house, too.

DD: You have been described as a "clown by nature [...] who deliberately acts in ways that make people laugh", do you really feel like that?
KN:
Yeah, a little bit. But especially in the sense that I often appear in my photos, because it's easy to take a picture of me. If I take a picture of you, you could be shy and something like that, but if I do it to myself, then it's easier.

DD: Watching your works, I've noticed that you have a strong tendency to establish a very close relationship with your subjects, especially in your polaroid pics, which are always marked by a signature, and sometimes a message written by the model.
KN:
Yeah, it's because in this way I don't forget. So, everytime I see a picture, the moment in which I've taken it always comes back to mind. They use to write crazy things, it's nice, and you can see what they have written forever and think about that.

DD: You have been working as assistant for Terry Richardson for six years, (from 2000 to 2006), could you tell me something about this experience?
KN:
Comedy everyday! Everyday was a cover story, a crazy story...

DD:
So, almost like a never-ending party?
KN: Right! We had so much fun. He says "You have to enjoy everyday, you don't learn from me and I don't teach you anything. You just look at me and learn by yourself".

DD: Now you live again in Japan, don't you?
KN: Yes, I live in Tokyo, but I often go back to New York. I usually spend six months there and six months in Tokyo. But I prefer New York, because I think it's a very 'honest' city, Japan is like this (he makes a gesture with his hands to mime a course full of bends), while New York is like 'yes' or 'not'. And also,  I think New York is the center of the universe, a lot of people moving there, a lot of culture going on, crazy things...

DD: You've recently shot a music video for a punk-hardcore band in Japan, could you tell me about this opportunity?
KN:
Yes, I've made a video for the Spiral Chord. They have contacted me, and then I've organized everything. I've chosen the people from internet, I don't like to have professional models. It was very funny.

DD: I've read that you have also collaborated with assume vivid astro focus, haven't you?
KN:
Yeah, it's true. They are my friends, from Brazil. Very nice people, and so crazy!

DD: Is there any other artist you would like to work with?
KN:
Well, I would be pleased to collaborate with Ryan McGinley, Dan Colen, Dash Snow...

DD: In some of your self-portraits you dress and act like Michael Jackson and Prince, why did you chose to embody these popular icons?
KN:
Michael... I've never seen him, but I want to! It's really funny for me, because I like costumes. You know, in Japan they have a 'costume karaoke', there are so many dresses and costumes, and you can choose which one to wear, and sing...When you disguise yourself like somebody, you can forget of yourself, it's just like a fantasy.

DD: These works make me think of a comparison with the ones of Yasumasa Morimura, who is famous for embodying pop and historical icons (Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot,Mao...), do you know him?
KN:
Really? I don't know him. I've gotta check that!

DD: You usually realize photo-sessions for fashion and lifestyle magazines, and for young brands, such as American Apparel or Uniqlo. And you have documented the work of Jun Takahashi for a magazine feature, as well. Which is your favourite fashion designer?
KN:
Jun Takahashi, definitely. And also Marc Jacobs.

Everyday is Like Sunday is on at the GoGallery until 15th July.