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.
Title unknown, 1950s © Estate of Shigeru Onishi, care of Tomoharu Onishi, courtesy of MEM, Tokyo.
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.
Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Foam Members and the VandenEnde Foundation.
In 2021 Foam receives additional support from Kickstart Cultuurfonds and the Mondriaan Fund.