Photographs by Tomohiro Muda: Aspects of Water

21 May - 30 June 2020
  • Thomsen Gallery is pleased to open our first viewing room, dedicated to work by Tomohiro Muda (b. 1956) whose work we first showed in our New York gallery in 2016. Well known for images inspired by sites of religious devotion and pilgrimage, for his New York debut show Muda turned his focus to the natural world with a selection of photographs of earth's precious resource: Water.

     

    Muda's atmospheric depictions of the both seemingly omnipresent yet also fragile liquid reflect an individual aesthetic that conforms to international trends in fine-art photography and builds on traditional Japanese sensitivity to mankind's environment, inflected with a sense of reverent awe at the sacred energy of natural forces. Conceived as the first in series of five exhibitions devoted to the traditional Five Elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void, Aspects of Water features 20 photographs that explore water in all its aspects, from the mirror-like surfaces of a lotus pond to dynamic compositions of spray and steam. Muda eschews the merely literal in pursuit of an approach to his subject that almost conveys a three-dimensional effect expressing his bodily experience of water. As noted by leading art-historian and critic Yūji Yamashita, with this exhibition he "seems to be aiming toward a grand summation" of all his previous practice.

    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 17 (Water 17), 2007
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 17 (Water 17), 2007
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 18 (Water 18), 2014
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 18 (Water 18), 2014
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 15 (Water 15), 2011
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 15 (Water 15), 2011
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 16 (Water 16), 2014
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 16 (Water 16), 2014
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 37 (Water 37), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 37 (Water 37), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 34 (Water 34), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 34 (Water 34), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 42 (Water 42), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 42 (Water 42), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 26(Water 26), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 26(Water 26), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 39 (Water 39), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 39 (Water 39), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 19 (Water 19), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 19 (Water 19), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 29 (Water 29), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 29 (Water 29), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 28 (Water 28), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 28 (Water 28), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 21 (Water 21), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 21 (Water 21), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 44 (Water 44), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 44 (Water 44), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 40 (Water 40), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 40 (Water 40), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 01 (Water 01), 2011
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 01 (Water 01), 2011
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 23 (Water 23), 2012
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 23 (Water 23), 2012
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 14 (Water 14) , 2009
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 14 (Water 14) , 2009
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 13 (Water 13) , 2013
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 13 (Water 13) , 2013
    • Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 04 (Water 04), 2011
      Tomohiro Muda, Mizu 04 (Water 04), 2011
  • Installation Images from our first Muda Exhibition

  • Tomohiro Muda

     

    1956   Born in Nara Prefecture.

    1980   Graduated from Department of Education, Waseda University, Tokyo.

    1982   Began a career as an independent photographer.

    1988   Presented "The Land of Sherpa," his first private exhibition, featuring photographs taken during a stay at a Sherpa village in the Himalayas.

     

    Muda later traveled around the world capturing images of Japanese, Romanesque, and Byzantine art, as well as ancient centers of Buddhism including Yungang, Borobudur, Angkor, and Ajanta. With "Spaces for Prayer, Forms of Prayer" as a theme, he presented his photographs through exhibitions and publications. Muda's many other fine-art photographic exhibitions, with a focus on light and presence, include "Rome: The Wall of Time," "Face of Iron," and "Portraits of Poli," in which he depicted a medieval Italian mountain town.

     

    PUBLISHED COLLECTIONS

     

    1990   The Land of Sherpa, IPC 

    2000   Portraits of Poli, Single Cut

    2002   El Claustro de Santo Domingo de Silos, Exile Gallery

    2005   Yungang Grottoes, Impleo

    2005   Pilgrimage, Japanese Art, Impleo

    2006   In Praise of Japanese Beauty: Japanese Aesthetics Through the Lens of Tomohiro Muda, Coherence

    2007   Romanesque: Sacred Buildings in Light (Tankosha)

    2010   Yungang Grottoes (Fuzambo International)

    2012   Okugake (LLP Bookend)

    2012   Cîteaux (Heibonsha)

    2012   Buddha's Words of Wisdom (PIE International) 

    2013   Icons of Time: Memories of the Tsunami that Struck Japan (Heibonsha)

    2017   Romanesque: Those Lurking in Light and Darkness (Seikatsu no Tomo)

     

    EXHIBITIONS

    1988   "The Land of Sherpa" (Shinjuku Nikon Salon, Tokyo)

    1993   "Portraits of Poli" (I.C.A.C. Westin Gallery, Tokyo)

    1994   "Ritratti di Poli" (Palazzo Conti, Italy) 

    2002   "The Cloister of Santo Domingo de Silos" (Exile Gallery, Kyoto)

    2004   "Spaces of Prayer, Forms of Prayer" (Impleo Gallery, Tokyo) 

    2005   "Yungang Grottoes" (Mayuyama, Tokyo)

                "Pilgrimage: Japanese Beauty" (Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, Tokyo)

                "Rome: The Wall of Time" (Gallery Fukka, Impleo Gallery, Tokyo)

    2006   "Tomohiro Muda: In Praise of Japanese Beauty" (Yufuku Gallery, Tokyo)

    2007   "Face of Iron" (Gallery Fukka, Tokyo)

                "The Art of the Romanesque" (National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo)

    2008   "Romanesque: Lurk in the Shadows" (Gallery Fukka, Tokyo)

                 "Santiago-Kumano: Caminos de Peregrinación" (Tanabe Wakayama, Japan / Paris, France / Santiago, Spain / Mitsuo Aida Museum, Tokyo)

                "In the Shadow" (Galerie Etienne de Causans, Paris)

    2009   "Clair Obscur" (Mayuyama, Tokyo / Galerie Frédéric Moisan, Paris) 

                 "À l'Ouest" (Gallery Uchiumi, Tokyo)

    2010   "The Wall of Time" (Marunouchi Gallery, Tokyo)

    2011   "Yungang Grottoes" (Mayuyama, Tokyo)

                "The Way of St. James: Tomohiro Muda, An Eastern View" (Spanisches Generalkonsulat, Hannover, Germany / Instituto Cervantes, Hamburg, Germany

                "Cistercians" (Nagano, Tokyo)

                 "Sacred Place, Prayer, Fantasy" (Koumimachi Kougen Museum of Art, Nagano, Japan)

    2012   "Okugake" (Kinpusenji, Nara, Japan)

                 "The Land of Sherpa" (Gallery YYZ, Tokyo)

    2013   "Les Murs du Temps" (Galerie Yoshii Paris)

    2014   "Icons of Time: Memories of the Tsunami that Struck Japan" (The Shoto Museum of Art, Tokyo)

                 "As Pure as the Lotus: East Asian Ceramics and the Eyes of the Photographer Muda Tomohiro" (The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka)

                 "Mizu No Bo" (Kashima Arts, Tokyo)

    2015   "Borobudur" (Mayuyama, Tokyo)

                 "Zao Gongen and the Secret Treasures of Shugendo" (Mitsui Memorial Museum, Tokyo)

                 "Chi-Ku No Bo" (Kashima Arts, Tokyo)

                 "The Wall" (Gallery Cocon, Tokyo)

    2016   "Icons of Time: Memories of the Tsunami that Struck Japan" (Japan Foundation Gallery, Sydney)

                "The Power of Colors" (Musee Tomo, Tokyo) 

                "Ka-Ku No Bo" (Kashima Arts, Tokyo)

                "Aspects of Water" (Erik Thomsen Gallery, New York)

    2017   "The Way of St. James: Tomohiro Muda, An Eastern View" (Palau Pineda, Valencia, Spain / Casa de Cultura, Caudete, Spain / Centre Cívic Tomasa Cuevas, Barcelona / Auditorio Municipal, Ávila, Spain / Gothic House, Barcelos, Portugal / Capilla de San Esteban, Astorga, Spain)

                 "Tomohiro Muda: Romanesque" (Mayuyama, Tokyo)

                 "Tomohiro Muda, Gose: Fragments of the Universe" (Osaka and Nara, Japan) 

                 "Icons of Time: Memories of the Tsunami that Struck Japan" (Fitzrovia Chapel, London)

                 "Waves of the Lotus" (Yehjinfa, Taipei)

                 "Kabe / Ishi, Kioku" (Genra Art, Kanazawa, Japan)

                 "Shards of Memory: Photographic Installation by Tomohiro Muda" (Chihanan, Shizuoka, Japan) 

    2018   "Kabe: Himitsunoarika" (Ikeda Museum of 20th Century Art, Shizuoka, Japan)

    2019   "Minamo" (Luca Scandinavia, Tokyo)

                 "Voice of Stones" (Genra Art, Kanazawa, Japan)