New Pictures 9: Rinko Kawauchi, Illuminance
February 20—August 10, 2014. Free Exhibition
This is the first museum exhibition in the United States by Rinko Kawauchi, one of the most important and celebrated photographers working in Japan today. Well-known for her provocative sequences of photographs, she chose 42 images from her Illuminance series to arrange in the MIA’s Perlman Gallery, a unique installation that highlights photographs both as singular images and as multiple images with poetic associations.
Kawauchi has exhibited around the world, including a solo exhibition in 2012 at the prestigious Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. She is also known for her photography books, which feature evocative sequences of images on every spread—15 books since 2001, most recently Light and Shadow (2012) and Illuminance, Ametsuchi, Seeing Shadow (2012).
Her images capture ordinary, fleeting moments of light and daily life that provoke unexpected reactions: a bag of fish eyeballs, light refracting on a diamond surface, a full moon against a black sky, a bleeding deer struck by a car. They are curious and playful, the brightly washed colors, expressive camera angles, and varied sizes suggesting that we are seeing the world not through a mechanical camera but a human glance. They are only fragments, parts of parts, with which to shape larger understandings.