Who is afraid of Kimiko Yoshida?
Gallery FIFTY ONE
Fifty One Fine Art Photography is pleased to present the first exhibition by Japanese artist Kimiko Yoshida. The show will feature works from the series ‘Intangible Brides’. Subtle, fictional, paradoxical, Kimiko’s ‘Bachelor Brides’ form an ensemble of quasi-monochromatic self-portraits, fragments of an intimate web elaborating on one single story: that of Japan and the feminine condition. Large formats, luminous squares, all the same size underlining the fantasy epic of this artist, who, very young, was struck by the story of her own mother, who met her husband for the first time on her wedding day. In 1995 Kimiko fled from Japan to settle in France, where she adopted a new language, a new way to live and create.
For two years now she has been concentrating on this series of “intangible self-portraits” which can be read as a quest for the hybridization of cultures and for the transformation of the being – or even as an deletion of the identities. The metamorphosis of her own identity into a multiplicity of identifications expresses the fading of uniqueness, the “deconstruction” of the self. Between disppearing and appearance her art expresses the yearning of the being for oblivion. Each of her images tells a tale. Maybe that of Princess Bamboo, a famous Japanese legend recounting the saga of an impossible marriage. Or maybe an emotionally charged situation whose theme is the inaccessible: the veil, desire as expressed by the mouth, the folded-arm gesture implying resistance, autumnal colour. All pieces of a private jigsaw puzzle with its semiotics of colours: blue, symbol of ice, but also of death and eternity; white, symbol of purity but also of banality and the quest for love; yellow, symbol of sun and light; red for passion, pain, blood and organic ∞things.
Kimiko’s work has many references to the outstanding essay ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by Japanese writer Tanizaki Junichiro, regarded by many as his masterpiece. By way of the Japanese house, the author gives us his thoughts on his conception of the beautiful. Kimiko’s photography actually focuses on what Tanizaki would call the desire ‘to give depth to the shadows,’ by thus referring to the notion of painting, ‘here is nothing more than another delicate surface upon which the faint, frail light can play.’ In that way the artist won’t use direct light, but always searches for that particular light which enters Japanese houses.
Shot with a Hasselblad camera with a 120mm lens, her ‘brides’ inhabit a hybrid, multicultural world formed by layers of time and space. The title of Kimiko Yoshida’s show at Fifty One refers to the work of Barnett Newman – as a master of expansive spatial effects and richly evocative color, Newman pio≠neered in making art that was both uncompromisingly abstract and powerfully emotive – and mostly to the famous statement “Who is afraid of Red Yellow & Blue ? ” he published together with Mark Rothko and Adolf Gottlieb on June 7, 1943. “…
We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth…” The ‘bride series’ had a sensational debut at the photography fair, ‘Paris Photo’ held in Paris in 2002, and was acclaimed by journalists and curators from all over the world. Kimiko Yoshida has exhibited at Centre National de la Photographie Paris; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; L’Ecurie de Delvaux, Brussels; MUSEUM OF ART, Herzylia , Israël ,…and recently she had a solo exhibition at “ Les rencontres photographique Arles “ in July 2004.