Tomatsu Shomei

  • Tomatsu Shomei, "Prostitute", Nagoya, 1957
  • Tomatsu Shomei, "Oh Shinjuku", 1963
  • Tomatsu Shomei, "Blood and Roses", Shinjuku, Tokyo, 1962
  • Tomatsu Shomei, "Protest", Shinjuku, Tokyo, 1969
  • Tomatsu Shomei, "Statue of Christ in Urakami Cathedral", Motoomachi, Nagasaki, 1961
  • Tomatsu Shomei, "The Ise Bay Typhoon", Nagoya, 1959
  • Tomatsu Shomei, "Asphalt", Tokyo, 1960
  • Tomatsu Shomei, "Plastics", Kujukuri Beach, Chiba, 1988 - 1989
  • Tomatsu Shomei, "Atomic Bomb Damage: Wristwatch Stopped at 11:02, August 9 1945", Nagasaki 1961


(1930-2012) Tomatsu was studying economics at Aichi University when he started taking photographs. After working at Iwanami Shashin Bunko (Iwanami Photograph Publicity), he began working as a freelance photographer in the 1950s. Major solo exhibitions include “Sakura and Plastics” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York,1992) “Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, 2004), “Tokyo Mandala” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo, 2007), “The Chiseling of Time” at the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum (Nagasaki, Japan, 2010), “Tomatsu Shomei: Photographer” at the Nagoya City Art Museum (Nagoya, 2011), “Shomei Tomatsu: Island Life” at the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, 2013), “Shomei Tomatsu” at the Fundación MAPFRE Casa Garriga Nogués Exhibition Hall (Barcelona, 2018), and major group exhibitions include “Conflict, Time, Photography” at Tate Modern (London,2014), “For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979” at The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, 2015), “PROVOKE BETWEEN PROTEST AND PERFORMANCE – PHOTOGRAPHY IN JAPAN” at Albertina (Vienna,2016).


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Tomatsu Shomei

Born in Nagoya, Aichi 1930, died in Okinawa, Japan 2012

– Education –

1950-54  Aichi University, Nagoya

– Selected Solo Exhibitions –

2020  Plastics, MISA SHIN GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan
2020  Tomatsu Shomei, Shining wind – Okinawa, INTERFACE – Shomei Tomatsu Lab., Okinawa, Japan
2019  Tomatsu Shomei, INTERFACE, INTERFACE – Shomei Tomatsu Lab., Okinawa, Japan
2018  Tomatsu Shomei Photographs, Okinawa Miyako 1972 to 1983, Miyakojima City Museum, Okinawa, Japan
2018  Shomei Tomatsu, Fundacion MAPFRE, Barcelona, Spain
2017  INTERFACE — Or, What Japan’s Great Post-War Photographers Kept Looking For. An Inquiry into the Artistic Practice of Shomei Tomatsu., Photo History Museum FUJIFILM SQUARE, Tokyo, Japan
2017  Assalamu alaikum, Place M, Tokyo, Japan
2017  Oh! Shinjuku, AKIO NAGASAWA Gallery | Publishing, Tokyo, Japan
2016  Shomei Tomatsu: Nagasaki, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan
2016  Shomei Tomatsu: The Pencil of the Sun, Miyanomori International Museum of Art, Sapporo, Japan
2015  Chewing Gum and Chocolate, MISA SHIN GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan
2015  Pencil of the Sun, Akio Nagasawa gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2014  Inaugural Exhibition: Shomei Tomatsu, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2013  Afghanistan 1963, MISA SHIN GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan
2013  Shomei Tomatsu Island life, The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA
2013  Tomatsu Shomei and plants in Okinawa, Collection Gallery 2, Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum, Okinawa, Japan
2013  Toki-wo-kezuru, Mitsubishi-Jisho ARTIUM, Fukuoka, Japan
2013  Tomatsu Shomei Photographs, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Nagasaki, Japan
2013  Nagasaki 11:02, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Nagasaki, Japan
2013  Shomei Tomatsu The pencil of the Sun,Open Gallery, Canon S Tower, Tokyo, Japan
2012  Tomatsu Shomei Photographs, Tonami Art Museum, Toyama, Japan
2011  Shinjuku Turmoil, MISA SHIN GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan
2011  Tomatsu Shomei. Okinawa Photographs- Love Letter to the Sun, Okinawa Perfectual Museum & Art Museum, Naha, Japan
2011  Shomei Tomatsu, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2010  TOMATSU SHOMEI: PHOTGRAPHS, Nagoya City Art Museum, Aichi, Japan
2009  Nagasaki 11:02, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Nagasaki, Japan

– Selected Group Exhibitions –

2018  Japan Modern: Photography from the Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck Collection, Freer|Sackler, Washington, USA
2018  a Handful of Dust from the Cosmic to the Domestic, California Museum of Photography, California, USA
2017  20 Year Anniversary TOP Collection: Tokyo Tokyo and TOKYO, , Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo
2016  PROVOKE BETWEEN PROTEST AND PERFORMANCE PHOTOGRAPHY IN JAPAN 1960- 1975, Albertina, Vienna, Austria; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Le Bal, Paris, France
2015  For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979, The Museum of Fine Arts, Texas, USA; Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, USA; Japan Society Gallery, New York, USA
2015  The 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: War and Peace, Hiroshima Prefectural Museum and Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Japan
2015  2nd Collection Gallery Exhibition 2015-16, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
2015  Conflict, Time, Photography, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Dresden, Germany; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
2015  Aichi NotesClay, Ceramics, Landscape and Memory, Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum, Aichi, Japan
2014  Conflict, Time, Photography, Tate Modern, London, UK
2014  The Provoke Era: Japanese Photography from the Collection of SFMOMA, Crocker Art Museum, California, USA
2013  1968 -Japanese Photography, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan
2013  Memories of the Town: Yokosuka via photography and art, Yokosuka Museum of Art, Kanagawa, Japan
2012  Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
2012  Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK
2012  Busan Biennale 2012 Garden of Leaning, The Busan Biennale 2012, Busan, Korea
2011  Breaking News Fukushima and the consequences ?, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, German
2008-09 Ryukyu, Okinawa Two People Exhibition Higa Yasuo Ritual of Ryukyu: Tomatsu Shomei Chewing Gum and Chocolate, Canon Gallery S, Tokyo; Urasoe Art Museum, Okinawa


February 28 – April 18, 2020

Chewing Gum and Chocolate
March 1 – April 9, 2016

The Road Not Taken
OZAWA Tsuyoshi, AI Weiwei, Ken LUM, TOMATSU Shomei
Nov 27, 2015 – Jan 30, 2016

Afghanistan 1963
September 19 – November 2, 2013

Shinjuku Turmoil
April 21 – June 11, 2011

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