Coimbra hosts exhibition that crosses ancient Japan with the contemporary

The City Hall of Coimbra City Hall will host ‘Hikari’, an exhibition by photographer Pedro Medeiros that reflects the cross between ancient Japan and the contemporary, in the Japanese city where Kyoto is most present.

The exhibition will be inaugurated on Saturday, and will be open until January 19, 2019 in Coimbra, followed by the Portuguese Center of Photography, in Porto, from March to May, and the Municipal Photographic Archive of Lisbon, July to September.

Pedro Medeiros lived for two years in Kyoto and the ‘Hikari’ exhibition, as well as the edition of a book of the same name, reflect this passage through the city, with photographs that explore traditional and historical Japan’s conviviality with the urban and modern landscape of Kyoto, which was the capital of the Japanese empire.

“Kyoto is a city where history and contemporaneity are completely interconnected and communicate in an interesting way,” told the photographer, considering that “the juxtaposition between tradition and the present” is present in the exhibition.

In the City Hall, 50 photos will be displayed (the book brings together about 100), which result from a free work, “without any commitment”.

“In many of my projects in the past, I used a very conceptual photograph, a very planned one, and then I went to the field and here I wanted to get rid of this planning, a lot of the photographs are done in my daily routine,” said the photographer.

For Pedro Medeiros, the work represents “an act of decoding what is a completely different culture”, trying to present its representation of what Kyoto is and what it is like to live in Japan, while trying to break the barrier of a “very normative and disciplined” society.

In this sense, the photographer sought to portray “what is most private and intimate in Japanese”, in a society where there is “a very great separation between public and private space”.

“There are a lot of behavioral aspects that are very rigid, that seem to be almost a choreography. In many aspects, I tried to meet the norm and also to a more intimate side,” he says, referring to the work portraying issues such as loneliness or sexuality.

The exhibition is curated by Filipe Ribeiro and the installation project is by the architect João Mendes Ribeiro.

The book is edited by Almedina and has a design by João Bicker, from the FBA studio, and is distributed in the stores of this publishing house.

The project has the support of the Japanese Embassy in Portugal, the Portuguese Photography Center, the Lisbon Municipal Archive, Bluepharma, the University of Coimbra and the Coimbra City Hall.

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