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Five free photography exhibitions to see at Tokyographie 2019

Albert Watson at Fujifilm Square

Kyotographie is one of Asia’s most prominent photography festivals. Much like The Rencontres d’Arles held in France every summer, Kyotographie is a series of photography exhibitions set up in various locations around the city of Kyoto, featuring never-before-seen works by international photographers. The exhibition venues are not just confined to conventional galleries but also include sites of notable cultural significance, such as the Museum of Kyoto annex, the former printing plant of Kyoto Shimbun and Nijo castle, to name a few. The festival is held every April and is worth a special trip to Kyoto. However, if you missed the festival earlier this year, you still have a chance to catch some of the event's most celebrated works in Tokyo over the next few weeks.


Benjamin Millepied 'Freedom in the Dark' supported by Zadig & Voltaire
Photo: Takeshi Asano


Kyotographie founders Lucille Reyboz and Yusuke Nakanishi started the project in 2013 after being spellbound by the energy and atmosphere of Kyoto. Now, they are working to expand the platform to Tokyo. The objective is to make art more accessible while highlighting the city's multifaceted framework. This is the second edition of Tokyographie since its debut last year, currently held at Fujifilm Square, Zadig & Voltaire Aoyama, Agnès B. Galerie Boutique and Kashiyama Daikanyama until January 12. The exhibitions, which feature works selected from this year's Kyotographie, all offer free admission. Here are the five artists who are showing at Tokyographie.


Ryuichi Sakamoto, New York City, 1989.
Photo: Albert Watson


Albert Watson

Albert Watson is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after photographers of our time. He has shot over 100 covers for Vogue internationally, as well as a number of film posters including those of 'Kill Bill', 'Memoirs of a Geisha' and 'The Da Vinci Code'. Watson is especially well known for his iconic portraits of celebrities the likes of Mick Jagger, Alfred Hitchcock and Steve Jobs. His collection, ‘Wild’, which was exhibited in the recent Kyotographie, features a series of landscapes and portraits, including several photographs taken for Ryuichi Sakamoto’s album ‘Beauty’. Ends December 12. 

Photo: Vik Muniz/Xippas Gallery for Ruinart (TBC)

Vik Muniz

Brazilian artist Vik Muniz was initially a sculptor before switching his focus to photography. His work commonly involves pieces of art he created himself which he then photographs. Earlier this year, Muniz was invited to be the artist-in-residence at Maison Ruinart, the first established champagne house. He was inspired by the winegrowers and vineyards at the property and created a series of works using organic materials such as blackened wood, charcoal and chardonnay leaves. His use of several mediums prompts the observer to continuously question their relationship between reality and memory. Ends December 8. 

Photo: Weronika Gęsicka, Vibe, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Jednostka gallery.

Weronika Gęsicka

Weronika Gęsicka’s work is characterised by warping images of vintage photographs that resemble staged stock images. By tampering the original photographs, Gęsicka creates new and often disturbing images that tell different stories from new perspectives. Her exhibition ‘What a Wonderful World’, curated by Marina Amada, features several works from her series ‘Traces’, which uses photos taken in the US dating back to the '50s and '60s, challenging the truth of the images used as a medium for memory. Ends January 12. 

Photo: Benjamin Millepied

Benjamin Millepied

Benjamin Millepied, a former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, famously choreographed the 2010 psychological thriller ‘Black Swan’. He is also a filmmaker in his own right. His first black-and-white solo show ‘Freedom in the Dark’ features 11 prints and one video of dancers moving, which Millepied explains is an exploration of time and space. Ends December 15.

Photo: Kensaku Seki

Kensaku Seki

In his thought-provoking series, Japanese photographer Kensaku Seki explores the darker side of athletics and the limits athletes are pushed to surpass their individual records. Ends December 12. 

For more information on Tokyographie, click here for the official website. The next edition of Kyotographie will be held in Kyoto from April 18 to May 17 2020.