Takashi Homma is one of the most internationally recognised Japanese photographers active at the front lines of contemporary photography today. Homma’s photography, possessing a uniquely cool gaze that rejects any sentimentality and portrays its subject with a characteristic sense of distance and cool tonality, has received acclaim not only in the world of photography but also contemporary art. Homma, who started out in advertising and fashion magazines in the late 1980s, moved to London in the early 90s taking work for legendary cultural magazines like i-D, and came to know there a few photographers who produced their own works by diverse methods. Upon his return to Japan, while making magazine media his foundation as a photographer representative of the 90s, his own photographic works capturing the landscape and people of Tokyo’s suburbs were published together in Tokyo Suburbia which was awarded the Kimura Ihei Commemorative Photography Award in 1999. Since then, he has continued to exhibit his innovative work both overseas and domestically and attracted subsequent generations of photographers.
From Trails, 2010
In this, the first one-person exhibit for Homma in art museums in Japan, we have attempted to convey the whole picture of Takashi Homma in the present moment by varying the selection of works for each exhibit in relation to the each art museum. Homma describes his own works as, “various attempts to question ways of seeing the world using photography,” citing Susan Sontag, “Photography is, first of all, a way of seeing. It is not seeing itself.” It is his stance to question the media of photography itself that has pervaded the basis of all the works in this exhibition that take diverse forms such as silkscreen prints based on photographs, installations, and video works. How is it possible to confront reality, memory, and the world by means of photography, which mechanically captures its subject through the apparatus of the camera? It is perhaps in order to draw our attention to this new approach of dynamically exploring the diversity and polysemy of photography born in this question that Homma has given the title “New Documentary” to this exhibition.
M / Washington D.C., 2009/2010