Kawada, Kikuji (1933 - Present)
Atomic Bomb Dome, Stain, Ceiling, Hiroshima from "The Map (1960-1965)"
This photograph is part of a series that was published in the Map, in which Kawada captured, on high contrast monochrome film, scenes and symbols of places that were embedded with the memory of violence. This photograph of a stain from the ceiling of the Atomic Bomb Dome embodies a deeply critical message about the nature of nationalism and violence.
About the artist
Born in Ibaraki prefecture in 1933, Kikuji Kawada graduated from Tokyo's Rikkyo University with a degree in economics and is essentially a self-taught photographer. His first solo exhibition in 1959, See, explored the tragedy of the Hiroshima bombing through the city's ruins and deserted landscapes, a theme that would come to dominate his work throughout the early 1960s. Kawada gained international attention with Bijutsu Shuppansha (Maps, 1965), in which he juxtaposed stains left upon the walls of the atomic dome with images of dead Japanese soldiers. With The Last Cosmology (1979-1997), Kawada shifted his attention away from political landscapes to document the movement of celestial bodies, particularly lunar and solar eclipses. His photography took on a fanciful nature in the late 1960s, beginning with Seinaru Sekai (Damned Atavism, 1971), in which he portrays creatures resembling classical chimeras and medieval gargoyles. He continued to expand upon the "world of Kawada" with Los Caprichos (1986), Car Maniac (1998), and Eureka (2001), drawing upon both Japanese and occidental figures to question the relationship between the two cultures.