Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture

  • Talk

Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture

A talk by Yasufumi Nakamori
29 February 2020, 4:00pm

Originally published by Yale University Press in 1960, Katsura: Tradition and Creation of Japanese Architecture is the most significant photographic publication about the relationship of modernity and tradition in post-1945 Japan. Designed by famed Bauhaus graphic artist Herbert Bayer, Katsura comprises 135 black-and-white photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro depicting the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, with essays by architects Walter Gropius and Tange Kenzo. In his talk, Nakamori argues that Tange, motivated by a desire to transform the architectural images into abstract fragments, played a major role in cropping and sequencing Ishimoto’s photographs for the book. The author provides a fresh and critical look at the nature of the collaboration between Tange and Ishimoto, exploring how their words and images helped establish a new direction in modern Japanese architecture. The book serves as an important contribution to the growing scholarly field of post-1945 Japanese art, in particular the juncture of photography and architecture.



Yasufumi Nakamori, PhD, is Senior Curator of International Art (Photography) at Tate Modern, and heads the institution’s efforts in exhibiting and collecting photography. From 2008-16, he was a curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where he organized exhibitions including Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture, Photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro (the catalogue of which received a 2011 Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award from the College Art Association) and For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979. Prior to Tate, he was the curator and head of the department of photography and new media at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where he organized monographic exhibitions with Leslie Hewitt, the Propeller Group, Omer Fast, Naoya Hatakeyama, and Amar Kanwar. At Tate, he is co-curating the upcoming exhibition Zanele Muholi, which will open on 29 April 2020.




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