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Japanese Couple

A work made of cibachrome mounted on rice paper; folding screen.

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  • A work made of cibachrome mounted on rice paper; folding screen.




Barbara Bloom
American, born 1951

About this artwork

Barbara Bloom’s focus on minute detail stems from her
interest in the implicit, in possible meanings—hers is a
“detective gaze.” Bloom employs ambiguity and suggestion
to investigate how we bestow value and meaning onto
images and objects and how we view, remember, collect,
and consume them. Here a folding screen partially cordons
off a single, shadowy photograph of a Japanese couple. The
screen alternately shields the picture from view or invites
intimate, even private engagement. The work emphasizes
the physicality in the act of seeing and renders the viewer
complicit, not merely as voyeurs but as full participants in
an exchange between the subject and object of spectatorship.
“Can we,” Bloom asks, “think of images or objects
as the recipients of a gaze, aware of our looking at them,
affected by our looking?”


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Barbara Bloom


Japanese Couple

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1990


Cibachrome mounted on rice paper; folding screen


Print: 71 × 91.4 cm (28 × 36 in.); Screen: 182 × 130.8 cm (72 × 51 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Anne & William J. Hokin in honor of Ann Goldstein

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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