Bombas Gens Centre d’Art has presented this morning to the media The gaze of Things. Japanese Photography in the Context of Provoke: A selection of pieces from the Per Amor a l’Art Collection signed by the following members of VIVO Agency (1959-1961)—Ikkō Narahara, Shōmei Tōmatsu, Eikoh Hosoe, Akira Satō and Kikuji Kawada—, as well as the members of the Provoke Collective (1968-1970)—Yutaka Takanashi, Takuma Nakahira and Daidō Moriyama. The exhibition also includes the bodies of work of Hiroshi Hamaya, Takashi Hamaguchi, Toyoko Tokiwa, Nobuyoshi Araki, Tamiko Nishimura, Ishiuchi Miyako, Kōji Enokura and Michio Harada. All these photographers were responsible for the radical transformation photography experienced between 1957 and 1972.
“This exhibition is very special for us since it shows one of the most powerful bodies of work within the Per Amor a l’Art Collection. In fact, it could be said that the selection that is exhibited constitutes the most important collection of Japanese photography of this time, in private hands, outside Japan. We were very much looking forward to sharing it with the general public for a while now, and the day has come,” said Susana Lloret, Vice-president of the Fundació Per Amor a l’Art.
Bombas Gens’ proposal focuses on the photographic renewal that took place in post-war Japan, while the great economic and cultural changes, marked by social clashes, mainly against the American heritage of occupation occurred. Provoke motivated this rupture. Only three issues were published (between 1968 and 1970), however it understood photography as an alternative language. The group of photographers who founded the project were influenced by another formation, VIVO: An agency inspired by the American Magnum Photos with the shared goal of forging a critical and subjective discipline in opposition to traditional conventions.
“At the beginning we acquired artworks by Tōmatsu and Moriyama, and from their work we started to pull the thread and complete the set we now hold. Contrary to what may seem, the bond between the photographers we include in the show is not national, but personal. All of them had a private relationship; we have not invented any connection between them because it already existed. We have simply compiled their works,” said Vicent Todolí, co-curator and director of the Art Area of the Fundació Per Amor a l’Art.
At the same time, Bombas Gens Center d’Art director and co-curator of the exhibition, Nuria Enguita, explained that “further research has been undertaken in order to present the works of four generations of photographers. By looking at these generations the evolution is disclosed, as well as the influences they had in each other. In addition, we shed light to three female artists working at the time: Toyoko Tokiwa —who represented women at work—, Tamiko Nishimura— Moriyama’s early assistant—, and Ischiuchi Miyako, who started working in 1975 in the wake of Provoke.
The exhibition also includes Michio Harada’s body of work: a chemistry teacher and amateur photographer, contemporary of this group, who was discovered by the artist João Penalva.
The exhibition opens its doors to the general public this afternoon at 8pm, after a presentation by the curators at 6:30 p.m. Free entrance until February 2, 2020.
Press kit with all kinds of materials available here