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​IBASHO proudly presents the first solo exhibition in Belgium of the internationally renowned Japanese contemporary photographer Toshio Shibata (°1949, Tokyo). One of Japan's preeminent landscape photographers, Toshio Shibata is known for exploring the delicate balance between human­made structures and nature. Photographing erosion control barriers, water catchments, roads, dams and bridges, he examines the unique appearance of such structures in his native land. Through his lens, riverbeds can look like origami, and waterfalls resemble kimonos.

The main focus of the exhibition will be Shibata's most recent work created in the Benelux for the well known Belgian­Luxembourgish architect and engineer of many bridges, Laurent Ney, shown for the first time outside of Japan. Two artists, two media meeting one another. Both media deal with the same subject: the civil­engineering structure embedded in a natural setting. Both artists analyse topography, geology and landscape and detect essential forms that emphasise their artificial creations. The exhibition will also show some of Shibata's widely acclaimed colour works ­ among others the ‘Red Bridge’ ­ of man­made structures in the Japanese landscape, that have been transformed by Shibata into images of a timeless, abstract and painterly quality. And in the context of this year's celebration of 150 years of friendship between Belgium and Japan, IBASHO will exhibit Shibata's earliest black­and­white photographs made during his stay in Belgium and during his travels to the Netherlands and Scotland.

Shibata has a special relationship with Belgium, as he studied photography at the Royal Academy in Gent in 1975 and began his photographic journey in this country. He studied painting in Japan and after graduating came to Gent on a scholarship. The director of the Royal Academy suggested Shibata to study photography instead. After seeing and being influenced by the exhibition ‘The American West: One Hundred Years of Landscape Photography’ in Paris (1978) which included work by the Group f/64 artists like Ansel Adams and other West Coast photographers from the US, Shibata decided to focus on landscape photography solely.