The gallery is proud to premiere the first exhibition featuring a large selection from Daido Moriyama's Another Country in New York (1971). The exhibition opens Saturday 26 March from 5:30PM–7PM at the Residence, Lijnbaansgracht 290.
The photographs capture Moriyama's signature style: rough, out of focus, and grainy. Upon taking a photograph, the artist would rarely gaze into the viewfinder in order to capture what he calls a 'passerby's view'. The photographer refused photography's potential of sharpness to envision it as a tool to capture reality in its essence; exciting and chaotic.
Another Country in New York encompasses the artist's 1971 trip to New York in snapshots of the airplane, the hotel room, street life, and billboards. It was the artist's first trip outside of Japan. The odd frames, dynamic diagonal compositions, and flashing lights capture the overwhelming sense of the urban landscape in black and white photographs inhabited by both turmoil and beauty. The photographs were printed in 2002 by Moriyama himself and have never been shown in their entirety. They have been hidden in the archive but will now be on show for lovers of vintage photography and as a crucial body of work in Moriyama's oeuvre.
The series refers to the title of the 1962 book by the author James Baldwin, Another Country. Set in New York, Baldwin narrates the aftermath of the tragic death of a young man. Yet, the book is truly a portrait of New York City as every sentence pulsates with urban buzz. It is no surprise that Moriyama refers to this book, as he places his finger carefully on the city's pulse to press the shutter-release. Describing photography as a 'fossil of light and time', his audiences are offered a fragment of an elucidated, long-gone moment. His works are portraits of the urban mystery, not an attempt to solve it. This sense of mystery is reflected in the double prints, where two photographs are printed as a sequence; two images are paired revealing stark oppositions or overwhelming impressions of New York.
An outstanding photographer and a figurehead in the field, Moriyama joined Provoke in 1968. The Japanese experimental project attempted to give an account of lived experience through the medium of photography. This was a radical move, which continues to resonate through Moriyama's work. The intense depiction of New York in 1971 is continually captivating by the confrontational portraits of New York; a depiction so alive and dynamic that it emanates from the photographs even decades after.
Press release courtesy Reflex Amsterdam.