Metamorphosis of Japan After the War

The West Los Angeles College Art Gallery and Kio Griffith presents “Metamorphosis of Japan After the War,” a photographic exhibition organized by The Japan Foundation. Exhibiting photographers include: Ken Domon, Ihee Kimura, Hiroshi Hamaya, Tadahiko Hayashi, Shigeichi Nagano, Ikko Narahara, Kikuji Kawada, Shomei Tomatsu, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Eikoh Hosoe, Takeyoshi Tanuma. A preview party will be held Thursday, June 11th at 730 PM. The works will be on view through July 11, 2015.

Dancers resting on the rooftop of the SKD Theatre, Asakusa, Tokyo

Dancers resting on the rooftop of the SKD Theatre, Asakusa, Tokyo

In 1945, postwar Japan made a new start from the ashes of devastation, and, in the twenty years leading up to the Tokyo Olympics of 1964, it succeeded in undergoing a dramatic transformation, embarking on a path towards becoming an economic power. These two decades constituted a period truly brimming with creative energy—a time in which democratization led to the restoration of vitality through free photographic expression and in which new talent pioneered postwar photography.

This exhibition is an international traveling exhibition refashioned from the “Japan: A Self-Portrait, Photographs 1945-1964″ exhibition that toured Setagaya Art Museum, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, and other Japanese venues to much acclaim. Looking back on this turbulent period that followed the war, it exhibits 123 black-and-white photographs by 11 leading artists of postwar Japan photography arranged into three sections—”The Aftermath of War,” “Between Tradition and Modernity,” and “Towards a New Japan.” Rather than being ordered by period and author, these photographs seem at first glance to be casually arranged, but the sequence provides a vivid narrative of the convoluted aspects of this complicated era. This exhibition was put together by Marc Feustel, a young researcher of Japanese photographic history now living in Paris, and Tsuguo Tada, editor of the Japanese version of Japan: A Self-Portrait, Photographs 1945-1964 (published in Japanese by Iwanami Shoten), and originally produced for exhibition outside Japan. As a result, one of its special features is the fact that it includes the perspective of someone who is not Japanese and who never directly experienced Japan in the postwar period.

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