Everyday Movement: Masakazu Murakami’s ‘Subway Diary’ Photo Exhibition in Taipei

Everyday Movement: Masakazu Murakami’s ‘Subway Diary’ Photo Exhibition in Taipei
Photo Credit: Masakazu Murakami / moom bookshop
What you need to know

If we place a mirror before reality, our existential anxieties may be casually revealed in images. Photographer Masakazu Murakami organized the photographs taken in Tokyo between 1999 and 2019 and created the photo book Subway Diary.

One of Taipei’s hidden treasures for art enthusiasts, moom bookshop, has opened an exhibition on Japanese photographer Masakazu Murakami’s Subway Diary.

Murakami’s work is inseparable from the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy in the early 1990s. A sense of despair permeated the country in a recession period known as the Lost 20 Years (失われた二十年). A lost generation of city dwellers wandered through a vast ocean called Tokyo, passing by the chaos, descending into the depths of society through the subway escalators.

Japanese photographer Masakazu Murakami focused his lens on the people of Tokyo for two decades since his student days. He never failed to carry his camera around as he took the subway. The click of the shutter, to Murakami, was like marking an entry in a personal diary, the pages of which he would never flip through again. Yet, this seemingly mindless and mundane act became his daily life’s sole comfort.

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Photo Credit: Masakazu Murakami / moom bookshop
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Photo Credit: Masakazu Murakami / moom bookshop
“When I had the awareness of what death was, the sceneries in front of my eyes became especially charming.” — Masakazu Murakami

During the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the stopping and starting subway cars, glimmers of light amid darkness, traversing the stations during rush-hour, the subway structure appeared alien from the daily atmosphere. What do we live for? How do we keep on living? These were the questions Murakami contemplated.

If we place a mirror before reality, our existential anxieties may be casually revealed in images.

In 2018, Murakami was invited for a residency at the Tokyo atelier chataigne. He used this time to review and organize the photographs taken in Tokyo between 1999 and 2019, and started the production of Subway Diary.

From the Shōwa era to the end of Akihito’s reign in 1989, to the present, Tokyo has changed and moved at a merciless pace. In time’s movement, everyday existence sits beside the alien and abnormal. Murakami uses his commute as a prelude to the city’s changes, walking through the dreamlike state of the everyday, and concludes with the misty night at Tokyo station.

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Photo Credit:Masakazu Murakami / moom bookshop

Released in 2020 by independent photobook publisher roshin books, Subway Diary is prefaced by Daido Moriyama in Japanese, Chinese, and English. In Taiwan, a limited edition of the photobook is distributed by Taipei-based moom bookshop.

“The so-called daily scenes exist many crevices, in which we can glimpse into a flip side of the world if we move our angle ever so slightly. Then, what we should do as the people who are holding the cameras is to photograph that fleeting moment of the other world in between those crevices. Subway Diary consists of Masakazu Murakami’s traces across the years, the accumulation of black-and-white snapshots taken in every chance encounter, including the ubiquitous subway lines and their surrounding scenes.” — Daido Moriyama
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Photo Credit: Masakazu Murakami / moom bookshop

Subway Diary: Masakazu Murakami Photo Exhibition
Date: 2020.06.06 - 2020.07.05
Location: moom bookshop
Address: No 16, Alley 8, Lane 251, Section 3, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
Time: 12:00 - 20:00 daily

Masakazu Murakami

Photographer Masakazu Murakami was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1977. He graduated from Tokyo Visual Arts College in 2001. He was represented by Tokyo’s Gallery Niépce. He has won Grand Prix at the 16th Hitotsubo Award and the 5th Visual Arts Photo Award. Murakami is now a magazine editor at Nippon Camera.

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TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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