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Left: Daido Moriyama, Untitled (from Passage), 1989-99, Polaroid, 10.8 x 8.9 cm / Right: Daido Moriyama, Untitled (from Bye-bye Polaroid), 2008, Polaroid, 10.2 x 10.2 cm
Sakurado Fine Arts Paris is pleased to announce our solo exhibition of Daido Moriyama, 'Reminiscence'. The show features twenty Polaroids from 'Passage' and 'Bye-bye Polaroid', saturated with the melancholic beauty of life at its most ordinary. While Moriyama is best known for his extremely provocative work from the 60s and 70s, 'Reminiscence' invites you along a quieter path of his career.
At an early stage, Moriyama defied the traditional codes of photography by capturing Tokyo’s hidden aspects using an approach both brutal and lyrical. As he wanders through the city, his camera an extension of his very own arm, Moriyama presses the shutter instinctively, without the use of the viewfinder. The captured images are rough, blurry and out of focus, reflecting the city and its inhabitants’ eagerness to find a new self-definition as they grapple with rapid modernization and the breakdown of traditional Japanese values.
However, Moriyama’s body of work is not only concerned with high-contrast images and gritty subjects, but also with a plainer and more centered investigation of everyday life. Polaroid, which enabled instantly visible images to become a reality, was a medium Moriyama continued to use for many years. Completely untouched by editing or manipulation, Moriyama’s Polaroids are unique pieces that embrace the nostalgic aspect of the medium, while rendering a softer, more personal view of the city.
The monochrome images capturing four popular districts of Tokyo in the series, 'Passage' (1989-99), seem to reflect an apocalyptic world, whereas 'Bye-bye Polaroid' (2008) pays homage to the medium itself, having been created in the same year that the production of instant film ceased. Exhibited together, the two Polaroid series quietly portray the changing scenery and the unchanging aspects of Tokyo - snapshot records of time, reminiscence, and the familiar streets to which Moriyama repeatedly returned.