Architectural photographer Brett Boardman will showcase a series of photos taken in Kyoto, Japan for the first time at The Japan Foundation Gallery from 26 February to 11 April.

The photographic exhibition, titled ‘Mono no Aware: The Poignancy of Things’ and designed by architect Andrew Burns, will be shown at the Spectrum Now Festival and art Month 2015 in Sydney. It juxtaposes the Katsura Imperial Villa, an iconic 17th century villa that has been revered as the epitome of modernism and is often described as “the quintessence of Japanese taste”, with the makeshift shelter of a homeless person under a bridge nearby.

Shot over a single two-hour period, the image sequence reveals unexpected parallels between two examples of human shelter that are geographically close, but worlds apart.

“I initially planned to document the architectural and material qualities of Katsura Imperial Villa,” explains Boardman, who had trained as an architect before turning to photography, and was awarded Australian Professional Photographer of the Year in 2005.

“However upon leaving the palace I discovered the nearby makeshift shelter which seemed to possess and express more directly Prince Hachijo Toshihito’s desire for the original Katsura to be ‘a teahouse in the melon path’.

“The images may be viewed as architectural photography, documentary photography or social commentary and will hopefully continue the dialogue that began almost 100 years ago between Katsura Rikyu as a place, Japan as a culture and the West.”

The exhibition coincides with the release of Boardman’s limited edition hardcover book of the same name that will be launched at a public talk event on Thursday, March 5, from 6-7pm. Published by Uro Publications, only 200 copies of the book will be produced.


The Japan Foundation Gallery, Sydney

Level 4, Central Park

28 Broadway Chippendale NSW 2008

Opening Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 10am-8pm

Friday: 10am-6pm

Saturday: 10am-3pm (except March 7 and April 4)

Closed Sundays & Public Holidays

Admission is free. RSVP essential for talks at [email protected] or 02 8239 0055.