Contemporary East Asian photography is put on the spotlight as The Baltimore Museum of Art recently curated a display of the best and influential photographers in the Orient. The show Time Frames: Contemporary East Asian Photography is up to the task to reintroduce to the West as to what goes on on the other side of the art world.
The show features more than 40 photographs of contemporary East Asian photographers who play with the concept of time, history, memory, imagined futures, missed moments, and even drawing from myths and legends. Most of the photographers come from China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, all experts in various fields such as photojournalism, documentary photography, and commercial photography.
However, there's a common denominator among these artists – time as a reference. Associate Curator of Asian Art Frances Klapthor elucidated the statement with examples:
“A recurring theme I observed is the encounters with the past that have a personal association with a person or place. Examples include Ishiuchi Miyako’s series of her mother’s belongings and scarred body; Rinko Kawauchi’s images of everyday life, such as her baby, elderly couples, elements of the natural world, and creatures both alive and dead; and in this exhibition, Toshio Shibata’s photographs of “invisible” elements of infrastructure. I see more digital manipulation by contemporary Chinese photographers, more overt social critique/criticism, more images of humans in panoramic natural (or unnatural) settings, as well as domestic ones.”
According to Klapthor there's also a shared theme of tackling invasive American consumerist culture and environmental degradation.
Some of the artists featured in the exhibition are Nobuyoshi Araki (Japanese, b. 1940), Bae Bien-U (Korean, b. 1950), Liu Bolin (Chinese, b. 1973), An-My Lê (American, b. Vietnam, 1960), Yao Lu (Chinese, b. 1967), Daido Moriyama (Japanese, b. 1938), and Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948), and Masaru Tatsuki (Japanese, b. 1974). While the art world has been majorly dominated by Western artists, East Asian photographers such as Araki, Bolin, and Moriyama broke the mold and have been exceptionally influential in contemporary art.
Get to know more about contemporary East Asian photography with Time Frames, running through 24 March 2019.