Icons of Time

Memories of the Tsunami that Struck Japan

A photographic exhibition by Tomohiro Muda

Wednesday 17th – Sunday 21st May 2017

Private View: Tuesday 16th May

The Fitzrovia Chapel, Fitzroy Place, 2 Pearson Square, London. W1T 3BF

The Horiuchi Foundation was proud to present a series of photographs by Tomohiro Muda in the exhibition Icons of Time: Memories of the Tsunami that Struck Japan. The Japanese photographer’s first UK exhibition commemorated six years since Japan’s northeastern coast was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Icons of Time was shown at the recently restored and reopened Fitzrovia Chapel, a stunning Grade II* listed building which was formerly the chapel for the old Middlesex Hospital. The exhibition also formed a satellite event for Photo London fair, which ran at Somerset House 17 – 21 May and was part of Fitzrovia Photo London Discovery Night.

Icons of Time is a photographic record of artefacts left behind in the wake of the tsunami. After the disaster, Muda set out on a mission to photograph and document the conditions of the affected areas. His first attempt three weeks after the event was unsuccessful due to the overwhelming grief he experienced upon seeing the devastation. Around nine months later, he returned and photographed roughly 5000 items. Icons of Time features a small selection of these pictures. Tomohiro Muda says, “The objects featured in my works may appear to be mere debris, things abandoned by the tsunami, but they’re not. Each item belonged to someone and suggests the presence of someone who is no longer present. In this exhibition, these fragments tell stories of a post-tsunami landscape and allow us to imagine the activity in these areas before the tsunami.”

The Fitzrovia Chapel has an evocative history as the chapel for the old Middlesex Hospital. It was never consecrated but for decades was open to all as a space for quiet contemplation to patients, doctors, nurses and visitors. Today it is open once again to the community and provided a beautifully reflective and thought-provoking setting for the exhibition.

The Guardian, 12 May 2017