# 37021

MORIYAMA, Daido (1938 - )

Accident, 2011

USD $3,500

Tokyo : Goliga, 2011. Artist’s book, 360 x 260 mm (closed) ‘each book has 80 Pages that are comprised of 40 individual sheets folded and bound together in an accordion format. All sheets are printed single-sided with tritone silk screening on 220 kg paper stock. A mixture of two varieties of the same paper have been used—one white and one black. Cloth-covered front and back boards. The exterior case cloth-covered and illustrated. Silk Screen printing by Editions Works, Tokyo.’ – the publisher. Limited to 40 copies signed and numbered by Moriyama, this is number 23.

Provenance :

Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

The Gene & Brian Sherman Collection, Sydney

 

Exhibited:

Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 May – 26 July 2015

Daido Moriyama ‘Photobook ACCIDENT installation’, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, 22 September – 22 October 2011 (another example)

 

Reference:

Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2015, p. 115 (illus.), pp. 227, 236 (illus.)

 

In the exhibition catalogue for Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection, Emily Rolfe notes:

‘Daido Moriyama was a member of the pivotal Provoke group of photographers who grappled with modernisation and critiqued the West’s growing influence. Founded in 1968, the three-issue magazine Provoke is synonymous with postwar Japanese photography and the photographic style are-bure-boke – of creating grainy, blurry and our-of-focus images – was predominant in the magazine. The style was used to challenge the conventional idea of a ‘good photograph’ and question the medium’s assumed ability to record ‘truth’. It saw photographers utilise high contrast, graininess, and off-balance perspectives to try and make sense of life in the changing city of Tokyo.

The images that make up Moriyama’s Accident series are tinged with anxiety and are often confronting. By re-photographing a road safety poster showing a serious car accident and blowing-up the gruesome details, Moriyama draws attention to the tragedy of the scene. A tightly cropped, grainy photograph shows a beach overcrowded by a sea of bodies. A bacterial problem has spread due to overpopulation and what was once a place of leisure has now been overcome by fear. The artist’s dramatic photographic techniques only increase the sense of unease and conjure the feeling of witnessing or being part of the real thing. [1]

With the population troubled by the state of the national and international politics and the nation’s role in the Cold War, a burgeoning Tokyo became the site of student rallies, violence and terrorism. [2] Moriyama began to feel that his city and the world at large were becoming more threatening. The Accident series was shot during this time in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and was published as short photo-essays in a monthly column in the Japanese magazine Asahi Camera. Moriyama started lurking around Shinjuku in Tokyo in order to capture the atmosphere on the streets. [3] He was drawn to the scenes and aftermath of accidents, and began re-photographing posters, television screens, newspapers and magazines. Strong contrast, a sense of movement and unusual compositions shroud the detail in these images. We are reminded that these photographs are neither first-hand documentations of events nor focused on representing the truth; they are suggestive images that arouse curiosity and subjectively explore Moriyama’s dark vision.

Images from the Accident series have since been turned into a photo-book via the silk-screen process, further removing the images from the circumstances of their original capture. The condensed display of these images, reproduced in a way that promotes their degraded qualities, is a further reflection on photography’s inability to embody truth.

Alongside Moriyama’s focus on environmental issues and overpopulation, the Accident series includes images relating to injury to oneself or a family member, bad weather, America’s growing influence, the media’s obsession with gossip, crime and world wide political issues. [4] The resulting photographs reflect on fear, human mortality and the turbulent atmosphere the city possessed at the time. Re-presented forty years later, the photo-book brings new life to the series, affirming for Moriyama that ‘photography that has both truth and fiction as well as multiplicity can, in fact, further open and expand the potential for expression.’

1. Philip Charrier, ‘The Making of a Hunter: Moriyama Daido 1966-1972’, History of Photography, vol. 34, no. 3, 2010, p. 276
2. As explored in the exhibition We can make another Future: Japanese Art after 1989, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2014-15
3. Simon Baker, Daido Moriyama, Tate Modern, London, 2012, p. 23
4. Charrier, op cit, p. 275