1. TOP
  3. Bishin Jumonji Exhibition: “Falling into Photographs”


Time Tunnel Series Vol. 26

Bishin Jumonji Exhibition: “Falling into Photographs”

  • DATES : Mon. May 12 - Fri. June 6, 2008
  • HOURS : 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays)
  • Closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Admission free.

The “Time Tunnel” series of exhibitions spotlights the early years of designers who currently rank among the renowned leaders of their craft. For this 26th exhibition in the series, we requested the participation of Bishin Jumonji, one of Japan’s most prominent photographers.

Bishin Jumonji became a freelance photographer at the age of 24, in 1971. After his debut work, “UNTITLED” (no heads), was featured in “Camera Mainichi” magazine, he was invited to show his photos at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1974, for which his high acclaim spread beyond Japan. Around the same time, for his very first job for “anan” magazine, he put together a 10-page fashion spread with the assistance of an outstanding staff that included Issey Miyake – a remarkable feat for a newly emerging photographer.

Starting the following year, Mr. Jumonji began producing a succession of photographs for advertisements promoting Shiseido and Matsushita Electric Industrial. The experimental and spectacular expression imbued in such works had a powerful impact on the public, and they received numerous awards from the Tokyo Art Directors Club (ADC). Meanwhile, his strong personal interests led Mr. Jumonji to produce a number of highly notable photographic collections. These include: Ran no Fune / Orchid Boat (1981), a photographic reportage focused on 7 years in the lives of first-generation Japanese immigrants to Hawaii; Sumitotta Yami / Darkness Becoming Visible (1987) documenting the myths of a minority tribe native to Asia; and Ogon Futenjin / Golden Heavenly Beings (1990), a lavish collection of photographs of Japanese artworks in gold, which led to Mr. Jumonji’s later use of 3D photo technology. His inexhaustible enthusiasm for creating remarkable works continues to this day.

On display in “Falling into Photographs” will be the fruit of what Mr. Jumonji refers to as “going beyond the senses.” He aspires to sense what others don’t sense, to see what others have never seen. He believes that, if he is able to carry out this yearning, the result will be of great interest. The works on display represent the tracks of his explorations into expressing photographically what he himself senses.

The two galleries will highlight Bishin Jumonji’s full array of works, from his debut up to the present, with a focus on his ad photos and photographic artworks.

  • “UNTITLED” (no heads) (1971)

  • Ran no Fune / Orchid Boat (1981)

  • Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (1974)

  • Shiseido (1976)

  • Amida Buddha image, Byodo-in Temple (1983)

  • Hayashibara (1985)

  • “Futatabi Kage” (Darkness Again) (2006)

  • Suntory (2007)

Bishin Jumonji

Bishin Jumonji became a freelance photographer in 1971. The following year he was hired to photograph for Shiseido and Matsushita Electric Industrial, marking the start of his involvement in shooting ad photos and commercial films. Simultaneously, he also began creating numerous works on topics of his own choosing. His debut work, the series titled “UNTITLED” (no heads), was shown in the “New Japanese Photography” exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1974. In the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. Jumonji produced numerous works about humanity and the Japanese, drawing upon his personal experiences. Subsequently his interest shifted to Japanese-style beauty, with his ambivalent sense of esthetics – both the glittery gold and the understated austerity of “wabi” – culminating in his photographic works. Today Mr. Jumonji is also probing experimental approaches to visual expression from diverse angles, including photobooks featuring 3D photography and installations of videos to be experienced in darkness. He is also a professor in the Department of Graphic Design at Tama Art University.

Exhibition Profile
Mr. Jumonji’s ad photos and photographic artworks, from his debut through to the present, will be displayed at two venues.
Venue 1: Creation Gallery G8
Venue 2: Guardian Garden

Interview Brochure
To complement this exhibition, a brochure has been prepared containing an interview with Bishin Jumonji in which he relates the milestones of his life and career from his childhood up to the present, and also discusses his approach to photography.
A5 size (148 x 210mm), monochrome, approx. 60 pages. Price: JPY 500.

Creation Gallery G8, Guardian Garden