Peabody Essex Museum Debuts New Works by Celebrated Japanese Photographer

  • SALEM, Massachusetts
  • /
  • March 18, 2013

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Toshio Shibata, Okawa Village, Tosa County, Kochi Prefecture, 2007. Courtesy of the artist. © Toshio Shibata.

Starting this April, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) will show new and seldom seen works by one of Japan’s visionary landscape photographers. Since the early 1980s, Toshio Shibata has turned his lens on the roads, dams and bridges of Japan to create visually striking images highlighting the delicate balance between nature and the artificial. On view from April 20 - October 6, 2013, Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes features 28 large scale photographs, including the first of the artist’s color photographs ever to be exhibited at an American museum.


Shibata teases beauty out of the unlikeliest of places. Historically, Japanese photographers featured obviously picturesque locations such as temples and gardens. Shibata revolutionized landscape photography in Japan in the 1980s, by instead turning his attention to concrete engineering works and infrastructure found alongside Japanese roadways. He is drawn to these places as microcosms of the delicate balance between the rigidity of human-made structures and the organic properties of nature.

“As stunning as Toshio Shibata’s photographs are, they are infused with deep awareness of humanity’s place in nature,” said Phillip Prodger, PEM’s curator of photography.  “As with all the best landscape photographers, his works cause us to reflect on what it means to live in this world.”

Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes is part of PEM’s continuing effort to introduce contemporary international photographers and their work to new audiences.

This exhibition is made possible by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

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