Provoke

Between Protest and Performance - Photography in Japan 1960-1975
September 14 - December 11, 2016
  • Kōji Taki, photographie extraite de Provoke 3, 1969

    Yōsuke Taki / Collection privée

  • Martin Argyroglo

  • Accident, Daido Moriyama, Collection of Shadai Gallery, Tokyo Polytechnic University 1

  • Martin Argyroglo

  • Araki Nobuyoshi, sans titre, 1973

    Araki Nobuyoshi / Collection Art Institute of Chicago

  • Martin Argyroglo

  • Interface

    Shomei Tomatsu

  • Martin Argyroglo

  • Takuma Nakahira, photographie extraite du livre For a Language to Come (Kitarubeki kotoba no tame ni), 1970.

    Takuma Nakahira/ Collection Privée

  • Martin Argyroglo

  • Anonyme, Contestation autour de l'aéroport de Narita, c. 1969

    Collection Art Institute of Chicago

  • Provoke 3, couverture, 1969.

    Takuma Nakahira / Daido Moriyama / Takahiko Okada / Yutaka Takanashi / Kōji Taki. Collection Privée

"I was inspired by provoke. Most people paid no attention to it, but really it was like a bomb."
-Nobuyoshi Araki

The three issues of Provoke were published over just a few months, between November 1968 and August 1969, with restricted distribution of just a few thousand copies. Inspired by William Klein's book New York (1956), and informed by, in particular, French literary and artistic influences (Albert Camus, Henri Michaux, Roland Barthes, Antonin Artaud, Jean-Luc Godard...), Takuma Nakahira, Yutaka Takanashi, Kōji Taki, and Takahiko Okada devised the first issue, Eros. The third issue, Provoke 3-reproduced high up on LE BAL walls-did not have any special theme. A book-cum-testament, First, Abandon the World of Pseudo-Certainty is published in 1970 shortly after the group broke up.

The publication of Provoke occured in a context of dillusionment : at the end of a decade of fruitless protests and upheavals, militant photography had its day and collective struggle gave way to the solitary photographer's ideological, factual straitjacket, to seize a subjective, fragmented, and explosive capture of experiencing the world.

Since reality is by nature elusive in its complexity and its contradictions, photography here gave up its indexical power, to bring forward an aesthetics of indecisiveness and confusion. Becoming "eyes ourselves" to attain "something before form" (Kōji Taki).

A raw, blurred and grainy language (are, bure and boke) came in, pushing photography back to the outer edges of readability. Flow challenged the omnipotence of the unique image. Juxtaposition, collage and repetition completed with the authority of sequences and narrative. In the context of a fetishist consumer society, where the flow of mediatized images turns everything virtual, where art itself is becoming a system, depicting the impossibility of representing, honouring absurdity and chaos are the only possible gestures.

Without solving them, Provoke thus sheds light on the complex links between photography and language, art and resistance.

-Diane Dufour

Teaser of the exhibition

Matthieu Samadet - Goodbye Films / LE BAL

Curators: Diane Dufour and Matthew Witkovsky with Duncan Forbes and Walter Moser

Exhibition conceived and produced by LE BAL with Albertina (Vienna), Fotomuseum Winterthur (Switzerland), Art Institute of Chicago.

With the support of ANA - All Nippon Airways, Toyota/Lexus and Picto.

Media partners : Le Monde, The Eyes, France Culture, Télérama, Beaux-arts Magazine, L’Oeil de la photographie, Mouvements, Nuit et jour (l'Autre quotidien), Parisart, PolkaTimeOut Paris.

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