Gallery FIFTY ONE TOO
Opening: Saturday, September 9th from 2-6 pm.
Gallery FIFTY ONE is pleased to present the fourth solo exhibition of Japanese photographer Yamamoto Masao (°1957). In ‘Tomosu’ the artist shows new work, including a selection of photographs created using the nineteenth century Ambrotype process. The title of the exhibition is Japanese for ‘to illuminate, to turn on a small light in the darkness’.
”I photograph small and beautiful things that I encounter in my daily life. I would be happy if my photographs reach you and become a small light in your heart.”
Yamamoto’s oeuvre has undeniably evolved over the past decade. He became known for his small prints – delicate objects that fit in the palm of ones hand or wallet so they could be carried around like a talisman – but in recent years his photographs have undergone an increase in scale. Whereas in earlier exhibitions his prints were mounted directly on the wall in meandering constellations in which each image was part of a larger story, the works are now more self-contained and the physical relation between the viewer and the photographic object has somewhat shifted to the background. However, the basic thought of Yamamoto’s artistic vision – the connection with nature and the attention to the subtle things that surround us and tell us more about elements of the universe that are invisible to us – have remained the same.
Masao Yamamoto was born in 1957 in Gamagori, Japan and started photographing when he was 16 years old. After studying plastic arts and painting, he decided in the 1980s to focus exclusively on photography. His oeuvre is praised among an international audience, with solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Yamanashi (2019), the Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung in Berlin (2018), the Museo Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil (2017), the Schloss Bonndorf in Germany (2017), the Centoro Nimeyer in Avilés (2016), the Forum für Fotografie in Cologne (2009) and The Print Center in Philadelphia (2008) and group shows in the FOMU in Antwerp (2015), la Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris (2017) and the George Eastman Museum in New York (2006). His work is included in prominent collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Canada, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Sir Elton John Collection, la Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and La Fondation d’entreprise Hermès in Paris. Monographs include a.o. ’Kurayami’ (Ikki Books, 2023), ‘Sasanami’ (Ikki Books, 2020), ‘Tori’ (Radius Books, 2016), ‘Fujsan’ (Nazraeli Press, 2008), ’é’ (Nazraeli Press, 2005), ‘Omizuao’ (Nazraeli Press, 2003), ‘Nakazora’ (Nazraeli Press, 2001) and ‘A Box of Ku’ (Nazraeli Press, 1998).
Born in Aichi, Japan in 1957
Lives and works in Japan
A box of Ku
Vast landscapes, societies, countries and space are all made from smaller parts.
These small things not only exist as elements that make up the whole; they each have their own story, as everyone has their own life. Under the rock there are thousands of baby ants being born, caterpillars eating leaves, birds that are attacked by cats – small events are taking place in the continuous flow of time.
Searching for beauty within these easily overlooked small events.
It represents a broader space than A Box of Ku. The space between sky and earth, the place where birds, etc. fly. Empty air.. An internal hollowness. Vague. Hollow. Around the center of the sky. Emptiness. A state when feet do not touch the ground. Inattentiveness. The inability to decide between two things. Midway. The center of the sky (the zenith). A Buddhist term.
KAWA = FLOW
This serie is about the world where we are and the world where we go to in the future. Although we seem to be connected continually there is a rupture between us in the present and those that went before us or that come next.
I tried to perceive this rupture as a KAWA (FLOW, river) that divides a plain
and expressed the resulting reflections in this works
La vie simple
This series was shot in a small village in Ardèche, France between 2013 and 2019. Yamamoto was invited to the village several times to photograph the daily life of the villagers while staying at a local couple’s home who runs a cultural institution in the village.