Daido Moriyama ×
Daido Moriyama × YOSHIROTTEN
CALM & PUNK GALLERY presents “SHINJUKU _ RESOLUTION”. This project was realized through the collaboration of two major Japanese visual artists: Moriyama Daido and YOSHIROTTEN. Moriyama Daido, a legendary Japanese photographer who has built his career photographing the Tokyo cityscape for many years, is a world-renowned master of street photography. Images of Shinjuku, photographed by Moriyama, have been expanded and reinterpreted by globally influential art director and graphic designer YOSHIROTTEN.
Shinjuku, a city with explosive character and charm, is captured in fragmentary moments by Moriyama where each vivid moment collates to amplify the city’s rawness and vitality. This was a creative point of entry for YOSHIROTTEN who dove deep into Moriyama’s work. The project involved an exploration of Moriyama’s digitized work by way of adjusting the resolution and resolution performance gave rise to new images. This process, in a way, was an interrogation by YOSHIROTTEN of ‘truth’ in Daido’s photographs: were these moments fact or orchestrated fiction?
For over 50 years, Moriyama Daido has been documenting human society through the photographic lens. He is a legendary street photographer who has been recognized for his achievements not only in Japan but all over the world, having received, in 2019, the Hasselblad International Photography Award also colloquially known as the unofficial ‘Nobel Prize of photography.’ Even at 82, he continues to venture into the streets of Tokyo nearly every day with an unchanging vigorous appetite for documentary photography. Scheduled to be released in 2021, his movie “THE PAST IS ALWAYS NEW, THE FUTURE IS ALWAYS NOSTALGIC” documents his journey to create a photobook of the same name.
The expansion of Moriyama's celebrated Shinjuku photo-series was entrusted to YOSHIROTTEN, rising graphic artist and art director. He garnered wide-spread attention in 2018 for his largest solo exhibition YOSHIROTTEN Exhibition “FUTURE NATURE.” With the overarching theme of ‘visualizing invisible objects’, the exhibition was held at TOLOTheuristic SHINONOME (Tokyo), spanning more than 1300m2 and showcasing large-scale 3D, video and graphic installations. Despite the relatively removed location from central Tokyo, people from various industries traveled to see his work; a testament to his success as an artist.
It seems that Moriyama’s Shinjuku has been reinvigorated; we are witnessing the beast named “Shinjuku” breathing new life and reanimated. Light particles travel through the synapses of the city, sending signals, at tremendous speed. The morsels of daily life in Shinjuku, pictured in Moriyama’s photographs, are just as real now as the viewers of his work, standing in front of the framed photograph on the gallery wall. Simultaneously, the photograph continues to exist in an uncertain virtual world. Perhaps this is what viewers will be confronted with: an interrelation between the virtual and real.
** This project started in August 2020 at the pop-up space "ISETAN THE SPACE" in Isetan Shinjuku as an exhibition titled "SHINJUKU _ RESOLUTION".
YOSHIROTTEN’s flexible and elegant sensibility were fused with the chaotic city that I photographed and that created a new ‘resolution’ for the metropolitan city of Shinjuku. I think that his future-oriented spirit created an air of excitement and anticipation for this project.
In the beginning, I thought that the density of the grainy black and white particles of Daido-san’s cityscape photographs were so intense and beautiful that there was no way for me to ‘enter’ the piece.
However, upon receiving the photographs in digital format, I opened the files on my desktop computer and found the dense particles turned into square pixels.
The word ‘resolution’ came to mind and I didn't know if the scenes I was looking at were real or virtual. To give shape to thought, I created works which allowed me to digitally ‘visit’ Daido-san’s photographic vision of Shinjuku. I hope this project will be an opportunity for viewers to take interest in Shinjuku, a truly special city.
Attempting to redefine the value of a work of art is an entirely different matter than the inscrutable overall intent of the artist.
Some people look at organized archives of artwork on the Internet, while others simply look at the images that circulate on various social media. The city of Shinjuku is recorded for various reasons and purposes. Fixed point cameras for crime prevention installed in various places around the city and drive recorders installed in cars are mere input devices. These devices record without real human intention even if their purpose is apparent. The recorded footage is, then, broadcast online as data.
Unlike these data, Moriyama Daido's “carving out" of moments through photography and YOSHIROTTEN's extensive process of “sitting with an image to birth a new image” are both acts by each artist to seek and confirm reality within themselves.
People know the existence of Shinjuku…or pretend to know. Perhaps people pretend to know about Moriyama's works. They are loiterers in Moriyama's “Shinjuku” who reconstruct his works into a new image, spin it into a new format for the next generation, slap it on a product, and cast it out into the world of the Internet. In other words, human humor and play = culture.
CALM&PUNK GALLERY Shinjiro Nishino
Daido Moriyama was born in Osaka Prefecture in 1938. He started out as a designer, however, in 1960, he became an assistant to photographer Takeji Iwamiya. By recommendation from Iwamiya, he moved to Tokyo in 1961 to work with the photo group "VIVO." After the group disbanded, Moriyama became an assistant to Hidekimi Hosoe and was involved in the production of Barakei (Killed by Roses) (Shueisha, 1963). In 1967, his series Japan, A Photo Theater in Camera Mainichi magazine received the New Artist Award from the Japan Photo Critics Association. In the 1968-1970 zine “Purovoku” ('Provoke'), in the 2nd edition, Moriyama published the photo called "Are, Bure, Boke” (“rough, blurred and out-of-focus”). It was shocking and considered radical, refusing to conform to the conventional photographic style at the time. From 1974 to 1980, he mentored many young photographers at workshops and photography schools particularly at “image shop CAMP”, while also working as a street photographer in Tokyo. In 1974 he exhibited his work at the New Japanese Photography exhibit which toured several museums in the United States of America including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in St. Louis, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 1999 he held a retrospective exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and toured the Museum of Modern Art in New York including others. In addition, he has held many exhibitions in Japan and overseas, including his private exhibitions at the Fondation Cartier in 2003 and 2016, large-scale private exhibitions overseas, and a two-person exhibition with William Klein at Tate Modern in 2013.
[Major Awards] In 2003, he received the 44th Mainichi Art Award; in 2004, the German Camera Award (Deutscher Kamerapreis); in 2012, the International Center of Photography’s (New York) ICP Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2019, the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, among many others.
[Major Photographic Series] He is the author of Japan, A Photo Theater (1968: Muromachi-shobo), Farewell Photography (1972: Shashin Hyorosha (Photo Review Company)), Tales of Tono (1976 Asahi Sonorama), Light and Shadow (1982: Fuyusha), Memories of a Dog (1982: Fuyusha), Hawaii (2007, Getsuyosha (Monday Company)), Dog and Mesh Tights (2015, Getsuyosha (Monday Company)), K (2017, Getsuyosha (Monday Company)), Pretty Woman (2017, Akio Nagasawa Publishing) and many others.
Born 1983. Pisces. Graphic artist, art director and designer. His broad skill set allows him to work in a multitude of fields designing album covers, collaborating with fashion brands, producing packaging design, and advertising. He became an independent artist in 2008, acting as creative director for wide ranging industries including fashion, music and advertising with graphic design, web design and video production as his main mediums. In the summer of 2015, he established Creative Studio YAR. He is also active as a graphic artist, holding solo exhibitions in Tokyo, London and Berlin, and participating in group exhibitions. In the spring of 2018, he held his large-scale personal exhibition in Tokyo at TOLOTheuristic SHINONOME titled YOSHIROTTEN Exhibition “Future Nature.” With the theme of ‘visualizing invisible things’, this exhibition showcased three-dimensional video and graphic works in the form of large-scale installation. The venue measured over 1300m2, making it his largest solo exhibition ever.