Peter Blum is pleased to announce an exhibition of the acclaimed Katsura Villa photographs by Yasuhiro Ishimoto (1921-2012). Katsura is the first exhibition of the artist’s work at Peter Blum Gallery, on view at 20 West 57th Street, New York. The show runs from Thursday January 14 through February 20, 2016.
Yasuhiro Ishimoto was born in San Francisco in 1921 and raised in Japan from the age of three into his teenage years. In 1939, at the age of eighteen, Ishimoto returned to California to study Agriculture but was soon sent to an internment camp for Japanese Americans when America declared war on Japan. During his two years of internment, Ishimoto was introduced to the craft of photography which soon became his life’s work. Upon release, Ishimoto moved to Chicago and enrolled at the Institute of Design where he studied under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Soon after his graduation in 1953, Ishimoto was invited to Kyoto to create his first series of photographs of Katsura Villa. This series was published in the book Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture in 1960. The artist returned to the site nearly thirty years later in 1981-1982 to photograph the villa again—this time incorporating color photography. Our exhibition presents photographs from both of Ishimoto’s visits to Katsura Villa.
Katsura Imperial Villa was built between 1620 and 1658 on the banks of the Katsura River in Kyoto as a summer home for Prince Toshihito Hachijo. The buildings and grounds have been designated as a world heritage site and are considered a masterpiece of Japanese architecture and gardening. Ishimoto’s photographs reinforce the precision and poetic harmonies that were pivotal in the inception and construction of the Villa. At the same time the photographs both extract from and project modernist aesthetics onto the architecture. This duality—of reverent documentation and reflective deduction resonates within each photograph and seems only plausible to achieve by an artist with deep connections to both East and West. Yasuhiro Ishimoto’s photographs of Katsura Villa are both an enduring homage to Japanese tradition and an illumination of the undeniable influence this tradition has had on the West.
Yasuhiro Ishimoto (1921-2012) has had solo exhibitions at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX (2010); Museum of Art, Kōchi, Japan (2001); The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (2000-2001); The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (1999); The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo (1998); The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1996); The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo (1989 and 1977); The Art Institute of Chicago, IL (1960). His work is included in the permanent collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, USA; Nihon University, Tokyo; Princeton University, PA, USA; Santa Barbara Museum, Santa Barbara, CA; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, among others. Significant awards include: The Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese Government (1983), Arles Citizen of Honor Award (1994), Person of Cultural Merit (1996), and named a Man of Cultural Distinction by the Japanese government.