In the 1960s and 1970s, Japanese photographers pioneered a novel visual idiom that reflected their growing awareness of the changing political and social realities around them. Their style has been described as “are, bure, boke,” which may be translated as “rough, blurry, out of focus.”
In 1974, the Museum of Modern Art in New York was the first institution outside Japan to present an exhibition surveying the country’s contemporary photography scene. Only two years later, Austria became the most important gateway for the dissemination of Japanese photography in Europe, thanks to the initiative of Otto Breicha, the founding director of our museum. He had traveled to Japan in 1975 to visit photographers in their studios and meet the editors of leading photography magazines, returning with an extraordinary collection that is now at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg. A first selection from this body of work was on display in 2018 in a show titled I-Photo; in this second exhibition, we will examine depictions of urban and rural life and society.
The outstanding series Toshi-e / Towards the City (1974) by Yukata Takanashi (1935 Tokyo, JP) and To the Village (1973–76) by Kazuo Kitai (1944 Anshan, Manchukuo, CN) are the centerpieces of the presentation, complemented by a magnificent array of big-city lights and Asian landscapes.
With works by Nobuyoshi Araki | Tetsuya Ichimura | Yoji Jikihara | Kikuji Kawada | Kazuo Kitai | Jun Morinaga | Daidō Moriyama | Ikkō Narahara | Chōtoku Tanaka | Hajime Tokura | Matsutoshi Takagi | Shinzō Shimao | Issei Suda | Yutaka Takanashi | Shuji Yamada
Curators: Christiane Kuhlmann with Andrea Lehner-Hagwood