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  • Mar 11, 2019

Daido Moriyama Wins 2019 Hasselblad Award

DAIDO MORIYAMA is the winner of the 2019 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.

On March 8, Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama was announced as the winner of the 2019 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. Conferred by the Swedish nonprofit Hasselblad Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting research in the natural sciences and photography, the SEK 1 million (USD 110,000) award will be presented to Moriyama at a ceremony in Gothenburg on October 13. Additionally, the Hasselblad Center will host a symposium about the photographer on October 14 and stage an exhibition of his work that same month.

Born in Osaka in 1938, Moriyama joined the studio of Japanese photographer Takeji Iwamiya as an apprentice in 1959, before moving to Tokyo—where he is still based—in 1961. He was part of the short-lived but influential Japanese avant-garde photography magazine Provoke, which spearheaded the are, bure, boke (“grainy, blurry, out-of-focus”) style that has become indelibly associated with Moriyama’s oeuvre. An exemplar of this aesthetic is Moriyama’s widely acclaimed debut monograph, Japan: A Photo Theatre (1968), which presented his now-iconic series of provocative black-and-white photographs capturing the seedy underbelly of postwar urban Japan. He has exhibited at major institutions in his home country and abroad, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1999); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1999); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Nagoya (2002); Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris (2003); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Seville (2007); Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2008); the National Museum of Art, Osaka (2011); and London's Tate Modern (2012). Moriyama received lifetime achievement awards from the International Center of Photography in 2012 and The Photographic Society of Japan in 2004; the 2004 Cultural Award of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie; as well as the 44th Mainichi Art Award in 2003. 

Moriyama was selected for the Hasselblad prize by the Hasselblad Foundation’s board of directors. The Foundation’s director, Christina Backman, stated: “2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the Hasselblad Foundation, and we find it very fitting that a photographer with such a wide appeal and long, diverse career as Daido Moriyama is this year’s award winner.” The Japanese photographer was nominated for the prize by a jury comprising panel chair Paul Roth, curator and director of Toronto's Ryerson Image Centre; Ann-Christin Bertrand, curator at the C/O Berlin Foundation; Susanna Brown, curator of photographs at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum; Kristen Lubben, executive director of the Magnum Foundation, New York; and Thyago Noguiera, curator at the Instituto Moreira Salles, São Paulo. 

Moriyama is the fourth Japanese recipient of the prestigious Hasselblad award since its founding in 1980. Previous winners include Wolfgang Tillmans (2015); Ishiuchi Miyako (2014); Walid Raad (2011); Hiroshi Sugimoto (2001); Irving Penn (1985); and Henri Cartier-Bresson (1982).

Moriyama’s upcoming exhibition at the Hasselblad Center will be accompanied by a new artist’s book, published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König. An opening date for the exhibition is yet to be announced.

Ophelia Lai is the reviews editor of ArtAsiaPacific.

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