“ABNORMAL, WARPED, SARCASTIC, GROTESQUE, SAVAGE, AND PROMISCUOUS”: KILLED BY ROSES, SIGNED BY HOSOE AND MISHIMA
(HOSOE, Eikoh) MISHIMA, Yukio. Killed by Roses. Barcelona: Shueisha and Editorial Lumen, (1963). Folio, original pictorial cloth, original glassine, original cardboard slipcase. $6500.
Signed limited first edition, scarce Spanish issue, number 388 of 1500 copies signed by Hosoe and Mishima.
“The photos that make up the body of the book are inky, sometimes high-contrast gravures that bleed right to the edge of the page and often extend across the entire open spread, giving extra impact to images that are already quite arresting. Even if the subject of Hosoe’s photographs weren’t the author Yukio Mishima, the book would be remarkable for its humid mix of eroticism and myth, queer kitsch and high art. But Mishima, Japan’s most celebrated and controversial modern novelist, was also a brilliant provocateur and his presence here turns Killed By Roses into a charged collaboration between artists testing one another’s limits… [Hosoe’s] first meeting with Mishima, in September 1961, was at the writer’s house, but the book-jacket photograph Mishima had summoned him to make became the germ of the project that consumed both of them until the following spring. That first day, Mishima, already dressed only in a loincloth, ended up wrapped in a garden hose and standing on the marble mosaic zodiac on his lawn. The resulting surreal images are among the book’s most famous; though Hosoe saw them as ‘the destruction of a myth… Mishima[’s] ritual suicide in 1970 was seen as his final artistic act” (Roth, 164). Spanish issue, concurrently released with the Japanese issue, with the Spanish title, Muerto par las Rosas, on slipcase and an explanatory pamphlet in Spanish laid in.
Text and photographs clean and fine, slightest rubbing to original cloth and corner-clipped acetate and light wear to publisher’s slipcase, markedly less than usual. An about-fine copy of a very scarce and important volume.