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A Beautiful Moment - Japanese photography

Museums/Institutes Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography

Keizersgracht 401
1016 EK Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 5318989

Open Tue - Sun / 11-18 hrs

Exhibition 9 Jun — 2 Sep

Opening 9 Jun, 17-19 hrs


Blast #5702, 1995 © Naoya Hatakeyama. Collection Huis Marseille

Does a common thread run through the work of the seven photographers who have been brought together for the exhibition A Beautiful Moment? This is not a very easy question to answer. Although the exhibition focuses on a select number of photographers whose origins are all in Japan, the work of each of these photographers is marked by a very personal choice of subject and specific working methods. There does, however, seem to be a certain commonality: namely, the focused and respectful way in which they all approach the medium of photography itself. Their way of looking at the world and of depicting it seems to have its origins in the specifically Japanese sense of beauty that is known in Japanese as wabi sabi: two key concepts from classic Japanese aesthetics that encompass such a wide range of meanings that that they are impossible to translate into a single English equivalent. Wabi has been described as ‘serene attention to simple things’ and sabi as ‘beauty acquired through the patina of time’. In the work of the photographers brought together by A Beautiful Moment the influence of wabi sabi can be seen, for instance, in a profound sensitivity to the various manifestations of nature, and also in an acute attentiveness to the beauty of superficially unremarkable details. However, the exhibition also presents the very opposite of this serene tranquillity: a wild imagination conveying a sense of unease and oppression.


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