In her still and subdued works, Rinko Kawauchi (1972), one of the most celebrated Japanese photographers of her generation – tries to capture the brief and transient beauty of the everyday things we often overlook. Playing on such themes as the family and our interaction with the cycle of nature and life, this artist looks for wonder in details. It is astonishing that her sensitive yet forceful way of observing the world around her and of catching fleeting moments in a photo actually results in an exquisite fragility – which is also evident in her meticulously constructed compositions.
Kawauchi uses the micro-momentary as a compass and this, like surfing on a wave, has unpredictable results and as an experience is holistic. In these invariably subjectively-charged images, it is not the explicit that gains in importance, as is usual in photography, but the implicit. Kawauchi’s pictures are permeated with the Greek kairos, a unit of psychological time or subjective parenthesis that is independent of linear, chronological time and creates depth in the moment.
The exhibition at Argos is arranged around two series of slides. Cui Cui gives us an intimate glimpse into Kawauchi’s family life. Against the supporting background tape that combines dreamy electronic soundscapes with rustling trees and chirruping birds, we see, among other things, her grandmother and grandfather in both simple daily rituals and life and death events. These pictures, taken over a period of several years, but not shown chronologically, are bathed in a wonderfully bright, whitish light. In the same way, focusing totally on the smallest and most transitory moments of the ordinary day, Utatane makes the link between the personal and the universal. The series of photos entitled 3 Years after Cui Cui, Utatane, and The Eyes, the Ears are an extension of the series of slides.

© Rinko Kawauchi / Courtesy of the artist and FOIL GALLERY, Tokyo.  
  • Tue 02.2.2010 - Sat 27.3.2010
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