The years following World War II were ones of great upheaval and social unrest, and few countries underwent such drastic change as Japan. With many of its major cities destroyed during the war, Japan’s rebuilding process coincided with expansive economic growth, prosperity, and an increasingly Western cultural influence. In response to Japan’s rapid modernization, postwar youth rebelled against many of the country’s traditional ways of thinking and sought new forms of expression. Rough, Blurred, and Out of Focus: Provoke Magazine and Postwar Japanese Photography offers an introduction to this tumultuous time from the perspective of the disaffected youth who lived through it.
While an older generation of photographers returned to the popular objective style of photojournalism (as seen in the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson), young photographers sought a new aesthetic philosophy to document their changing world. This new generation used photography as a means of expression, not documentation, and considered the individual behind the camera as important as that which was being photographed.
Beginning in 1959 with the formation of the VIVO cooperative, photographers like Shōmei Tōmatsu, Ikkō Narahara, and Eikoh Hosoe forged a new style characterized by wild experimentation, ambiguity, and unsettling, often confrontational subject matter. The movement continued in the late 60s and 1970s with the short-lived Provoke Magazine and such photographers as Takuma Nakahira, Yutaka Takanashi, and Daidō Moriyama. Provoke’s distinctive style was described as are, bure, boke (“rough, blurry, and out of focus”). The rough graininess of the images came from deliberate printing techniques, while the blurry, out-of-focus qualities were a facet of the photographers’ expressionistic approach.
1 hour 35 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Supernatural Shakespeare
While Shakespeare’s title characters might have the most name recognition, the Bard’s meddling witches and mischievous faerie folk often steal the show. See this focused installation before it closes October 10.
4 hours 54 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago THURSDAY at 6:00—Join us for a tour of works in our collection presented in American Sign Language with voice interpretation.
1 day 1 hour ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Humanism + Dynamite = The Soviet Photomontages of Aleksandr Zhitomirsky
The first exhibition in the post-Soviet world devoted to leading political artist Aleksandr Zhitomirsky offers a captivating portrayal of a satirist and loyal citizen who inventively furthered his country’s official causes across a tumultuous half-century.