From September 10 to October 29, Jablonka Pasquer Projects in Cologne will be showing an exhibition featuring four Japanese photographers: Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, Yutaka Takanashi, Shomei Tomatsu.
Here’s my knee-jerk reaction to reading about this exhibit: this is exactly the kind of conservative, “Moriyama syndrome” show that major galleries or institutions put on when they want to “go Japanese.” All that’s missing is Hiroshi Sugimoto, just for good measure—SFMOMA actually did this a couple of years ago. There’s no attempt to draw some kind of link between the four dudes, just “here’s some famous Japanese photography—please buy some!”
To be fair, Priska Pasquer is heavily invested in Japanese photography, and they recently gave the excellent Lieko Shiga a solo show. From a business perspective, I can also understand why it is necessary to put on a big boring show: this stuff will sell more than an up and coming artist. Yet I feel little sympathy at the moment. This exhibit only perpetuates the idea that “Japanese photography” is equal to “the work of men breathing around 1970.”