Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2010 - Architecture - 168 pages
Originally published by Yale University Press in 1960, Katsura: Tradition and Creation of Japanese Architecture is the most significant photographic publication about the relationship of modernity and tradition in postwar Japan. Designed by famed Bauhaus graphic artist Herbert Bayer, Katsura comprises 135 black-and-white photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro depicting the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, with essays by architects Walter Gropius and Tange Kenzo.
This new publication argues that Tange, motivated by a desire to transform the architectural images into abstract fragments, played a major role in cropping and sequencing Ishimoto’s photographs for the book. The author provides a fresh and critical look at the nature of the collaboration between Tange and Ishimoto, exploring how their words and images helped establish a new direction in modern Japanese architecture. The book serves as an important contribution to the growing scholarly field of post-1945 Japanese art, in particular the juncture of photography and architecture.