Yoshii Gallery is pleased to present Tokyo Meshed World, an exhibition featuring unpublished gelatin silver prints taken by Daido Moriyama between 1975 and 1978. During the 1960s and 1970s, Japan was thrust into the postmodern era without having achieved a mature stage of modernity, pursuing industrialized and consumer capitalism while the development of its mass media continued to accelerate. The Tokyo landscape was suddenly and drastically altered – mechanically reproduced images, piles of neatly stacked merchandise, highly stylized women in overtly sexual advertisements, and the loneliness of the “modern man” were everyday scenes from the city’s utopian vision for economic and cultural progress. The primary method for reproducing this profusion of posters, magazines and billboards was the halftone printing process, where a screen of small dots (“mesh”) are printed in layers to produce color images. This world, saturated in images, is Moriyama’sMeshed World. Moriyama’s photos show optimistic advertisements depicting images of Western celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, borrowed and stylized to the point where they begin to taken on Japanese anime features. However, sinister feelings of boredom and loneliness lurk in the shadows of these bright lights and excitement for the pursuit of change and economic growth. By weaving visual gossamer and transforming objects into amorphous patterns, Moriyama takes these scenes even further – transcending boredom and nihilism, and escaping the emptiness of the everyday.
Daido Moriyama was born in Osaka, Japan in 1938. He studied photography under Takeji Iwamiya and the legendary experimental photographer Eikoh Hosoe. In 1969, he was an active contributor in Provoke, a magazine founded in 1968 that—if only briefly—became a melting pot for the most radical of Japanese photographers as their experimental, anti-aesthetic, and provocative form of photographic works were published in the magazine linking to opposition of all group members to the Vietnam War and Japan’s official policy. His solo exhibitions include William Klein + Daido Moriyama, Tate Modern, London (2012);On the Road, the National Museum of Art, Osaka (2011); and at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2003). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 28th Annual Infinity Awards from International Center of Photography, New York (2013) and the Photographic Society of Japan’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), among other honors.