Shigeru Onishi
The Possibility of Existence

Foam proudly presents the first European solo exhibition of the Japanese mathematician and artist Shigeru Onishi. It is the first time that his photographic oeuvre is shown in Europe, giving the artist a deserved place in the history of photography.

The exhibition The Possibility of Existence shows the forgotten photographic oeuvre of Shigeru Onishi (1928 - 1994). After graduating in topology (branch of mathematics) from Hokkaido University in 1953, the artist began to apply his mathematical theories to photography. Although his theories are fairly complex, they have produced a unique body of work that distanced him from other movements and ideas in Japanese photography of his time.

In his photographs, Onishi tried to transcend time and space: his works renounce photography as a snapshot. Images mingle in montages, or fade in his unorthodox printing methods; Onishi ignored all the rules of the darkroom. For example, he 'painted' the photographic emulsion on the photo paper with a brush, deliberately introducing irregularities in the development of the image. After 1957, Onishi stopped photographing for unknown reasons to devote himself entirely to creating abstract ink paintings.

In collaboration with MEM Gallery and Bombas Gens, Foam is showing a wide selection of vintage prints in combination with some ink paintings.

This exhibition is made possible by the Japan Foundation.

Foam is supported by the VriendenLoterij, Foam Members, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, the VandenEnde Foundation and the City of Amsterdam.

In 2021 Foam receives additional support from the Mondriaan Fund and Kickstart Cultuurfonds.