Little known outside his home country, Shomei Tomatsu is widely considered the most important figure in Japanese postwar photography. His photographs span more than 50 years, examining, in an absolutely personal and unique vision, the island nation in the years since World War II.
Seen earlier at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, the approximately 260 photographs on view in Skin of the Nation — the first comprehensive overview of the work of Shomei Tomatsu — provide a candid look at the aftereffects of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the influence of American military and popular culture, and the impact of the post-1960s economic boom in Japan.
The exhibition shows all Tomatsu's major groups of works, for example Nagasaki 11.02 - the shattering essay on the effects of the atom bomb and the lives of the survivors - and Chewing Gum and Chocolate, his first attempt at capturing the far-reaching Americanisation in Japan after the war - with the huge dichotomy between the military threat and the cultural attraction, the seduction of Hollywood glamour.
The curators are Sandra S. Phillips and Leon Rubinfien and a catalogue, published by Yale University Press, is available.
Galerie Rudolfinum Web Site