A retrospective exhibition featuring 150 works by Japanese master photographer Shōji Ueda at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre is an exciting highlight of the year for photography fans and more casual viewers alike.
The exhibition, arriving in China for the first time, documents Ueda’s remarkable photographs, spanning his early to late periods, and includes one of his best-known series, Sand Dunes.
Described as a “sedentary adventurer,” Ueda was extremely attached to his birthplace, Tottori, in western Japan. This small city is best known for its nearby sprawling sand dunes, a setting that Ueda chose for many of his earlier works and for which the aforementioned series was named. Mostly shot in black and white, the photos he took among the dunes capture the outlines of his subjects, who are both playful and meticulously composed, with the landscape acting as a stark backdrop.
The Sand Dunes series has won acclaim globally, leaving a major mark within art history, and winning Ueda recognition as one of the most important figures in 20th-century photography.
After the Sand Dunes series, Ueda cemented his reputation with photographs recording ordinary life but often in a blurred, dreamlike style, with hazy landscapes and slightly faded colors, revealing his unique and poetic sensibility.
Aside from his obvious fascination with black and white photography, Ueda was also a colorist. In his later period, he finished a series called Shiroi Kaze (Brilliant Scenes), of which some resemble watercolor paintings, and could fool those more familiar with his monochrome images into believing they’re from another photographer.
Featuring pictures in both black and white and color, the exhibition brings together a great many of his lesser-known series, that otherwise there are few opportunities to see.
Shōji Ueda Retrospective Exhibition
10am-6pm Tue-Sun until Nov 25; RMB 60 at the gate, RMB 50 for booking online (need to be one day in advance), RMB 35 for students, free for children under 12. 155A Caochangdi, Chaoyang District 三影堂 (朝阳区草场地155号A; 6432 2663).
Photos: by Shōji Ueda via Three Shadows Photography Art Centre