Provoke the Age, the Acts: 50 Years’ Quest for a Language to Come

Nagasawa Akio
NAGASAWA Akio (1968 - ) is Director of Akio Nagasawa, both a gallery and publisher, and also Director of Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation. He curates exhibitions internationally, including the shows at his own two Tokyo gallery spaces in Ginza and Aoyama. Nagasawa also publishes photo books and catalogues and provides art direction consultancy for commercial facilities such as hotels and boutiques.

Major exhibitions and events he has curated include “Labyrinth” by Moriyama Daido at Les Rencontres d'Arles, 2013, “Pas de Deux” by Hosoe Eikoh and William Klein at Les Rencontres d'Arles, 2016, “Daido Moriyama Printing Show” at Tate Modern, London, 2012, and Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, 2016.
Hamaguchi Takashi, Hosoe Eikoh, Kurata Seiji, Moriyama Daido, Naito Masatoshi, Nakahira Takuma, Nomura Sakiko, Sawatari Hajime, SPEW, Suda Issei, Tomatsu Shomei, Yoshiyuki Kohei


First published in 1968, the legendary photography magazine PROVOKE of post-World War II Japan shook the art world and subverted traditional aesthetics of photography with its are, bure, boke (“grainy, blurry, out of focus”) B/W images. The magazine encapsulated the social atmosphere of the late 1960s, challenged existing photographic forms and frameworks, and continues to have a profound influence on Japanese photographers today.


At its inception, PROVOKE magazine was curated by art and photography critic TAKI Koji and photographer NAKAHIRA Takuma. The poet OKADA Takahiko and photographer TAKANASHI Yukata were later invited to join as members, with MORIYAMA Daido also joining from the second issue. Despite its closure after only the third issue, PROVOKE has become an icon in the Japanese art world.


The 2018 Hong Kong International Photo Festival spotlights the legendary magazine in a landmark exhibition “Provoke the age, the acts: 50 years’ quest for a language to come” curated by Tokyo-based curator NAGASAWA Akio. Through the eyes of a dozen emerging and prolific artists of the 1960s and 1970s – including Nakahira Takuma, Moriyama Daido, Tomatsu Shomei, Sawatari Hajime, Suda Issei, and the late Hamaguchi Takashi – we see the Tokyo of the PROVOKE era: a shifting metropolis in the midst of global upheaval, and a modern Japanese society in rapid transformation.

  • PROVOKE&Beyond Trailer
  • Curator Nagasawa Akio and critic Dustin Shum on PROVOKE
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