Daido Moriyama hosts unprecedented retrospective at IMS

With an extensive collection, the IMS invites visitors to immerse themselves in Japanese culture through the work of one of the world's leading photographers.

Hotel in Shibuya District, Tokyo, Provoke Magazine 2, 1969

With an exhibition of more than 250 works by the famous Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, the Moreira Salles Institute opens tomorrow, April 9, a major retrospective dedicated to the artist's long career, something never before done in Latin America.

With the impeccable curatorship of Thyago Nogueira, the exhibition occupies two floors of the institute with the artist's universe getting to know not only his work, but also for revealing the culture and essence of a remote country that is often far from the imagination of the western spectator. . 

Born in 1938, shortly before the start of World War II, Moriyama began photographing for newspapers and magazines of great circulation after moving to Tokyo in 1961. The first period of his career is marked by the documentation of the effervescent Japanese culture of the period , marked by the destruction of war, the occupation of American troops, the transformations in traditional culture and the westernization of the country. 

Photo titled Stray dog, from 1971.

For Nogueira, the then-journalist's career was transformed as he began to look at photojournalism with a certain skepticism, contesting its alleged impartiality or ability to really show the world as it is. “The first moment where this happens is with the production of the book Japan, a theater of pictures, from 1969, when he gathers all the images from the reports made in previous years and distributes them without any chronological order or explanation, presenting Japan in a completely new way”, explains the curator. 

The entire first floor of the show is taken up by this and other experimental projects by the artist, such as the series Accident, during which he tests different ways of using the image to convey news and events, or with the photographs produced for the three editions of the magazine Provoke, dedicated to contesting the power of representation of images and the consumer society.

This photograph titled Tokyo, from 1971, is part of a small and rare collection of color photographs by Daido Moriyama, who made most of his collection in black and white.

In 1972, however, with the book Goodbye, photography!, Moriyama momentarily breaks with artistic work after entering a state of crisis. For the show's curator, this delicate moment in the photographer's career can be explained by “an artist's revolt against his submission to the photographic code”. Regarding this moment, the artist would later say: “I tried to dismantle the photograph, but I ended up dismantling myself”. 

Fortunately, in the 1980s, Moriyama returned to the world in search of the essence of photography, valuing its details and seeking in them basic elements such as light, shadow and silver grain. And so, the artist extends his career to the present day, dedicating himself to the production of the magazine record, which reaches its 50th edition in 2022 and  which proposes to investigate the essence of photography by capturing the “banal daily life of cities”, in the words of Nogueira.

The exhibition also has magazines and books, which are arranged on long tables so that visitors can see the works in the way they were created to exist, and projection rooms that make the visit even more immersive.

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