They’re not just books; they’re art

“BIBLIOTHECA,” a solo exhibition of Tokuko Ushioda’s photographs, will be on view from March 8th to April 28th in PGI, a Tokyo gallery. It will include approximately 25 gelatin silver prints from her most recent works. They display exceptional tonality and could change how you see books.

Ms Ushioda was born in Tokyo in 1940. She studied under Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Kiyoji Otsuji at the Kuwasawa Design School. Over 20 years ago she started “BIBLIOTHECA,” an ongoing series, after admiring the beauty of a book she waTs reading. The books range from antiques like an Edo period accounting ledger and a 14th-century prayer book all the way to elementary school dictionaries and items from Ushioda’s own bookshelf. She has photographed books in a variety of settings, including public and university libraries, publishers’ cutting rooms and mentor Kiyoji Otsuji’s atelier. Throughout the process she wrestled with the question of whether these items, intended only to be read, could also make for an interesting photographic subject.

It seems to work. These photographs, all of which were captured using only natural light, go beyond merely showing physical objects, giving an impression of both the passage of time and the people who’ve used them. This is the essence of her style. “Just showing books isn’t enough,” says Ushioda.

Tokuko Ushioda “BIBLIOTHECA”
Date: March 8 th-April 28 th 2017
Opening hours: 11:00-19:00 (Mon-Fri). 11:00-18:00 (Sat)
Closed: Sundays and national holidays
Place: PGI (3F, 2-3-4 Higashiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo)

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