Ishiuchi Miyako - Photographs London Friday, September 25, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gallery Past Rays, Yokohama, 2009

  • Exhibited

    アパート Apartment, Ginza Nikon Salon, Tokyo, 4 - 9 July 1978, another
    Apartment, 4th Kimura Ihei Award Exhibition, Ginza Nikon Salon, Tokyo, 29 May – 3 June 1979; Shinjuku Nikon Salon, Tokyo, 5 – 11 June 1979, another
    Ishiuchi Miyako: Grain & Image, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, 9 December 2017 - 4 March 2018, another
    The Origins of Japanese Contemporary Photography – Film grain as words, GoEun Museum of Photography, Busan, 9 June - 29 August 2018, another

  • Literature

    M. Ishiuchi, Apartment, Tokyo: Shashin Tsūshinsha, 1978, n.p.
    Ishiuchi Miyako: Grain & Image, Yokohama: Yokohama Museum of Art, 2017, p. 57

  • Catalogue Essay

    Ishiuchi Miyako’s frst photobook Apartment, self-published in 1978, comprises photographs of old apartments – their exteriors, interiors and residents – in Tokyo and Yokohama. From 1977 to 1978, Ishiuchi studied these derelict post-war housings that were rapidly disappearing along with their communal way of life. Ishiuchi explains why she pointed her camera at this subject:

    Until we moved into the house my father built when I was 19 years old, my family of four lived in a six-tatami-mat sized apartment in Yokosuka. My father’s intention was to live there temporarily but it became longer. That experience was impactful. Apartments are temporary residences for most people; various people live there for a period and then leave. However, old apartments are alluring. There, I felt so many things left behind by humans.

    While shooting these old buildings, Ishiuchi was drawn to the traces left by generations of former residents and their untold stories, experiencing what she describes as ‘the amazing sensation of tapping into collective memory’. Her emotionally charged photographs represent a poignant meditation on the intangible qualities of time, space and memory.

    Apartment #45 (lot 12), offered here, is a bold composition in which the building nearly fills the entire frame. While the exterior is the focus of this haunting architectural portrait, which graced the front cover of Apartment, a resident in the intimate confines of his room is the subject of Apartment #7 (lot 13). In this candid photograph, a young man smiles up at the camera as he lounges on his crumpled duvet, the wall behind him adorned with pin-ups; the largest one is of 1970s pop icon Momoe Yamaguchi, who, like Ishiuchi herself, grew up in the naval port city of Yokosuka.

    In 1979, Ishiuchi became the first female artist to receive the prestigious Kimura Ihei Award for her Apartment series, and the only woman to be included in the group exhibition Japan: A Self-Portrait, at the International Center of Photography, New York. Among her numerous awards, she became the first Asian female artist to receive the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2014. She also represented Japan at the 2005 Venice Biennale and her work has been exhibited internationally, including recent museum retrospectives: Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2015-2016) and Ishiuchi Miyako: Grain and Image at the Yokohama Museum of Art (2017-2018).

    Photographs from Apartment reside in the collections of major museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; SFMOMA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; and Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.



Apartment #7 横浜 泥亀 Deiki, Yokohama

Gelatin silver print.
Image: 19.8 x 24.6 cm (7 3/4 x 9 5/8 in.)
Sheet: 20.7 x 25.6 cm (8 1/8 x 10 1/8 in.)

Signed in rōmaji, titled in English/Japanese and dated in ink on the verso; signed in Japanese, titled and dated in ink on a Certificate of Authenticity accompanying the work.

This work was selected for the current owner during a visit to Ishiuchi’s studio in 2009. At the time, it was confirmed that only one set of early prints from Apartment in this size exists. The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum holds another print and the exhibited print from the 2018 Yokohama Museum of Art retrospective remains with the artist.

Please note that the artist’s name appears in Japanese order with the surname before the forename.

£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £8,750

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London Auction 25 September 2020