Ishiuchi Miyako - Photographs London Wednesday, May 25, 2022 | Phillips

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  • 'Photographing for Apartment was about my past – it was also about photographing the process of growing up.'
    —Ishiuchi Miyako


    Ishiuchi Miyako’s (b. 1947) first 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 especially drawn to the walls, patterned by stains and cracks, as seen in Apartment #55 (lot 49).The passage of time is also evident in Apartment #52 (lot 51) with the textured exterior of the building filling the frame whereas the entrance hall with its large postbox and wooden name plaques in Apartment #28 (lot 50) emphasise communal living. As exemplified by these works on offer, Ishiuchi focuses on 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.


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



    M. Ishiuchi, Apartment, Tokyo: Shashin Tsūshinsha, 1978, cover.
    M. Ishiuchi, Apartment, Tokyo: Shashin Tsūshinsha, 1978
    • Provenance

      The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka

    • Literature

      M. Ishiuchi, Apartment, Tokyo: Shashin Tsūshinsha, 1978, n.p.


Apartment #28

Gelatin silver print.
Image: 24.4 x 29.5 cm (9 5/8 x 11 5/8 in.)
Sheet: 25.4 x 30.7 cm (10 x 12 1/8 in.)

Signed in rōmaji, titled and dated in pencil on the verso.

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

Full Cataloguing

£7,000 - 9,000 

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London Auction 25 May 2022