23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject
With the new exhibition 'A Journey in Ink', Hamiltons Gallery displays Daidō Moriyama's photography in way which perfectly reflects the artist's style

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject
With the new exhibition 'A Journey in Ink', Hamiltons Gallery displays Daidō Moriyama's photography in way which perfectly reflects the artist's style

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject
With the new exhibition 'A Journey in Ink', Hamiltons Gallery displays Daidō Moriyama's photography in way which perfectly reflects the artist's style

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject
With the new exhibition 'A Journey in Ink', Hamiltons Gallery displays Daidō Moriyama's photography in way which perfectly reflects the artist's style

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject
With the new exhibition 'A Journey in Ink', Hamiltons Gallery displays Daidō Moriyama's photography in way which perfectly reflects the artist's style

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject
With the new exhibition 'A Journey in Ink', Hamiltons Gallery displays Daidō Moriyama's photography in way which perfectly reflects the artist's style

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject
With the new exhibition 'A Journey in Ink', Hamiltons Gallery displays Daidō Moriyama's photography in way which perfectly reflects the artist's style

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/09/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
Daidō Moriyama’s Silkscreens: Where Form Meets Subject
With the new exhibition 'A Journey in Ink', Hamiltons Gallery displays Daidō Moriyama's photography in way which perfectly reflects the artist's style

Approaching Daidō Moryama’s 1999 photograph A Silhouette in the Night as it’s currently displayed at Hamiltons Gallery is somewhat daunting, given the size of the silk canvas the photograph has been printed on. Standing too close the figures appear abstract, a virtually unrecognisable pattern of speckled dots and blocks of pitch black printed on the silkscreen to create a featureless individual, barely recognisable as a person. Take a few steps back though, and the crowd takes shape. Illuminated by the lights of the neon signs and storefronts behind them, it’s overshadowed by a tree on the side of the image erupting into an inky block that obscures the sky.

LEFT: Detail from A Silhouette in the Night, 2000 | RIGHT: Silhouette in the Night, 2000

In much the same way that American director Michael Almereyda’s blocky, digital images of the 90s are given recognisable form by their movement, so do Daidō Moryama’s images gain clarity from a distance. Born in 1938, the Japanese photographer has often been compared with Andy Warhol, with the current exhibition’s display of his photographs reminiscent of Warhol’s 1971 silksheet exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum. In contrast to Warhol’s hyper-staged work however, Moriyama’s street photography on display here is defined by its spontaneity. Each photo was taken on the move and without the use of a viewfinder, on a camera compact enough to fit in the back pocket of his jeans.


Previous displays of Moriyama’s work have been portrayed on gelatin silver prints, allowing gradient shades of grey into the image. The ink printing on silkscreens here foregrounds the abstraction of the human form in Moryama’s work, emphasising the high-contrast monochrome of his photographs. Every inch of the silksheet is either black or white and picking any single figure from the sea of inky, overlapping silhouettes becomes a challenge. By obscuring and abstracting the figures in the crowds, the presentation embodies Moryama’s themes of de-individualisation. The printing of the images onto silkscreens practically forces you to distance yourself from the work, viewing the crowd as a featureless mass of indistinct bodies rather than a collection of individuals.

Visions of Japan, 1999
Visions of Japan, 1999

Also imposing is the vision of large, parted lips in 1999’s Visions of Japan, here creating abstraction by ensuring closeness to the viewer, even when viewed from a distance. A closer investigation reveals the same grainy, high-contrast monochrome of Moriyama’s other work, with every detail of the close-up made up of the same scattered dots. Meanwhile, in a 2001 piece simply titled Tokyo, there are no visible people aside from the smiling figure of fetishised ertoticism on an advertising sign. One of the few immediately recognisable faces in the exhibition, too, comes with a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy staring out at the viewer in Tokyo, 1988. That both the figure on the advertisement and the mascot of an American corporation are recognisable even upon closer inspection of the silkscreens further emphasises the motifs common throughout Moriyama’s work, investigating the increased commercialism and ‘Americanisation’ of Japanese culture post-WWII.

LEFT: Tokyo, 2001 | RIGHT: Tokyo, 2001

The silhouetted figures in Night Shijuku are similarly reduced to a faceless crowd. It’s impossible to work out whether its subjects are walking towards the camera or away from it, while the only light comes from the glowing advertisements and street signs. The printing of these images in ink on silkscreens, does more than simply recall the influence of Warhol on Moriyama’s images; it makes more apparent the high contrast monochrome and abstraction of the human form in an urban setting that defines his street photography.

Night Shijuku, 2018
Night Shijuku, 2018

Daidō Moriyama: A Journey in Ink is showing at Hamiltons Gallery until 30th October, 2021

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