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Last Updated July 09, 2018
Untitled, from the series NAMI, 2004 © Syoin Kajii, courtesy of the H+F Collection_cover image

A Beautiful Moment

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Address: Huis Marseille
Keizersgracht 401
1016 EK

Starts: 09 July, 2018
Ends: 02 September, 2018
Opening times: See venue
Price: See venue
Genre: General

Japanese photography by Naoya Hatakeyama, Syoin Kajii, Rinko Kawauchi, Toshiko Okanoue, Yuki Onodera, Chino Otsuka and Nao Tsuda

Does a common thread run through the work of the seven photographers who have been brought together for the exhibition A Beautiful Moment? This is not a very easy question to answer. Although the exhibition focuses on a select number of photographers whose origins are all in Japan, the work of each of these photographers is marked by a very personal choice of subject and specific working methods. There does, however, seem to be a certain commonality: namely, the focused and respectful way in which they all approach the medium of photography itself. Their way of looking at the world and of depicting it seems to have its origins in the specifically Japanese sense of beauty that is known in Japanese as wabi sabi: two key concepts from classic Japanese aesthetics that encompass such a wide range of meanings that that they are impossible to translate into a single English equivalent. Wabi has been described as ‘serene attention to simple things’ and sabi as ‘beauty acquired through the patina of time’. In the work of the photographers brought together by A Beautiful Moment the influence of wabi sabi can be seen, for instance, in a profound sensitivity to the various manifestations of nature, and also in an acute attentiveness to the beauty of superficially unremarkable details. However, the exhibition also presents the very opposite of this serene tranquillity: a wild imagination conveying a sense of unease and oppression.

The work of Naoya Hatakeyama has been part of the Huis Marseille collection since as long ago as 1999. Works by Rinko Kawauchi and Syoin Kajii were acquired in 2004 by the private collector Han Nefkens (H+F Collection) and given to Huis Marseille in permanent loan. Over the following years this ‘Japanese section’ of the collection was expanded, with recent acquisitions of work by Nao Tsuda, Yuki Onodera and Toshiko Okanoue. The exhibition A Beautiful Moment follows Bernd, Hilla and the Others: Photography from Dusseldorf as one of three exhibitions, revolving around key groups of photographs held in Huis Marseille’s own collection, that are being organized in the run-up to the museum’s twentieth anniversary in September 2019. The Huis Marseille collection also contains a significant number of works by the Dutch photographer Jacqueline Hassink, and three photographs that she made in Japan between 2004 and 2014 have also been included in this exhibition.


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