Toshiya Murakoshi “A gradual thaw”

Dates: Jan 9 – Feb 13, 2016
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film
Opening reception: Saturday, Jan 9, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film is pleased to present Toshiya Murakoshi’s solo exhibition “A gradual thaw” from January 19 to February 13. This will be his second solo exhibition with the gallery and include approximately seven large panoramic works shot between 2011 and 2015. The exhibition will also be Murakoshi’s first to exclusively feature panoramic images.

Born in Sukagawa in Fukushima Prefecture and based in Tokyo, Murakoshi has shot his hometown since 2006 and continuously produced serene, yet powerful, landscape images that appear to trace his memories of time spent in his hometown.

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 not only left an indelible mark on the disaster-stricken areas, but also raised serious questions about established values and living practices. After the earthquake, many artists visited the northeast region to produce a variety of works that interrogated their relation to society and posed questions to instigate numerous discussions. Within this context, Murakoshi continued to carefully observe his hometown as he had been doing for years but refrained from verbally addressing what he saw or felt. The title of the current exhibit strongly reflects this stance, which he has chosen to take as a photographer.

(…) When the earthquake and nuclear disasters occurred, I felt that I would no longer be able to shoot as I had been doing. Without knowing what to do, I returned to my hometown ten days after the quake. My childhood home is in Nakadori, Fukushima, which was not affected by the tsunami. The earthquake destroyed streets and buildings, but the landscape remained virtually unchanged. I knew, however, but many things had changed despite the normal appearance. (…) Image produced in Fukushima from now on would inescapably accompanied by the subtexts of the earthquake and nuclear power. Precisely because of this, I decided to shoot Fukushima as a disaster-stricken region, but it didn’t feel right. I kept on asking myself what I wanted to do. The answer did not come easily and I decided to continue to shoot Fukushima for myself, as I had been doing. Whatever appeared in front of me, I wanted to see it with my own eyes, shoot it, and think about it. The entire process constitutes the photographing act. I didn’t need a reason to shoot my hometown after all. I’m not sure that what I do is what photography is about, but I’m convinced that shooting Fukushima is photography and I will continue to do so.

Excerpted from Toshiya Murakoshi’s text submitted to the May 2014 group exhibition “Reflection”

This exhibition is made possible with support from Photographers’ Laboratory.

Toshiya Murakoshi was born in 1980 in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture. He graduated from Nippon Photography Institute in 2003. In 2009, he established the gallery “TAP” in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa, Tokyo. He received the Photographic Society of Japan Newcomer’s Award in 2011. In 2015, he received the Sagamihara Photograph New Face Incentive Award. His works are included in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His solo exhibitions include “timelessness” at Konica Minolta Plaza (Tokyo, 2008), “uncertain” at Shinjuku Nikon Salon (Tokyo, 2009), “kusa wo fumuoto [sound of stepping on grass]” at Fukushima Airport (Fukushima, 2012), and “Burn After Seeing” at Kichijoji Art Museum, Musashino City (Tokyo, 2014). His photobooks include RAINY DAYS (Sokyusha, 2006), until and unless (TAP, 2010), calendula (TAP, 2011), and turn back the hands of time (Taka Ishii Gallery / TAP, 2013).

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