Daido Moriyama, Harumi, Chuo, Tokyo, 1970. Weekly Playboy, Oct 1970. © Daido Moriyama, Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation.

Daido Moriyama: Retrospective

Japan's greatest photographer for the first time in Finland.

“I don't know if individual photographs contain ideas, worlds, history, humanity, beauty, ugliness or nothing at all. I actually do not really care. I just extract and record things around me, without any pretence.” 
- Daido Moriyama 

With a career spanning almost sixty years, Daido Moriyama transformed the way we see photography. He used his camera to interrogate the world, challenging the role of photography, image circulation and consumption.  

Moriyama was born in Ikeda, Osaka in 1938. Following its defeat in World War II, Japan was subject to a US Military occupation which brought with it rapid westernisation and economic transformation. During these decades of enforced change, Moriyama envisioned photography as a democratic language, promoted by the mass media. Inspired by American artists such as William Klein and Andy Warhol, he also showed the contradictions of capitalist society.  

This retrospective traces Moriyama’s artistic path, starting from his works for Japanese magazines, his challenging of photojournalism, his contribution to the Provoke generation, and the radical proposition summarised by his photobook Farewell Photography (1972). During this period, he also established his unique aesthetic, famously known by the Japanese catchphrase are bure boke meaning grainy, blurry, out of focus.

In the early 1980s, Moriyama slowly overcame a creative and personal crisis. His subsequent work developed a visual lyricism with which he reflected on his identity, and the essence of photography, memory and history. During this period, Moriyama also renewed his interest in street photography, covering hundreds of miles in Tokyo, New York, Paris, and London, among other cities. Well-known for his gritty black and white images, he also embraces colour and digital photography, tools that suited his focus on contemporary consumer society. The exhibition ends with Record magazine, the culmination of his life-long investigations and a publication which Moriyama continues to produce to this day.  

Moriyama has spent his career asking a fundamental question: What is the essence of photography? He rejected the dogmatism of art and the fetishisation of vintage prints, instead embracing the accessible and reproducible aspects of photography as its most radical asset. 

 

DAIDO MORIYAMA: A RETROSPECTIVE
Curated by Thyago Nogueira, Instituto Moreira Salles.

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8.3.–2.6.2024
Images

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