From photographs and collages that convey scenes from her daily life in distinctly dreamy palettes, installations in which she combines such images with music and three-dimensional representation, to avant-garde performances, Hanayo has continued to develop her own individual style both within Japan and internationally through engaging in artistic practices across various different realms. This exhibition marks her third solo presentation at Taka Ishii Gallery. It will feature a video work that symbolically captures the subtle yet precious moments of her everyday on 8mm film, in addition to a series of experimental photographic works characterized by the beautiful expressions of their grain.
As a geisha, model, actress, singer, performer, photographer and artist, from the very beginning of her career Hanayo has developed her practice within an extensive scope and through connections between multiple genres in a manner incomparable to the standard figure of the artist who focuses and works within a single field. What permeates the undercurrent of her oeuvre is a unique Weltanschauung that Jérôme Sans describes as, the 'Hana-world.' Her insatiable curiosity as well as vivacious sensibility and intuition that has been cultivated through her encounter with various cultures has resulted in a series of fruitful collaborations with numerous creators and artists.
She does not intentionally attempt to convey the world beautifully, yet she expresses a certain sense of vivacious thirst towards living in a beautiful world and bringing color to her surroundings. (...) At all times she continues to move closer to things that while in a constant flux, brim with sensations of excitement, peculiarity, pleasantness and amusement with surprising vigor and speed. - Excerpted from the press release written by Takashi Azumaya for the exhibition held at Gallery Koyanagi in 2002.
Hanayo’s beloved daughter Tenko had long served as central presence within her works since moving to Europe, however having grown up and embarked on her own journey, Hanayo’s creative practice has now entered into a new phase. In the installation work Tertiary Sex Characteristic presented at the MOT Satellite this February, Hanayo reminisces about her roots in an attempt to seek out a universal form of expression through the successive connections that emerge from within, thus strongly reflecting her intentions of exploring this new chapter in her life as an artist. It is perhaps only natural that Hanayo who had 'graduated' from her muse Tenko, as an artist and as an individual being, had looked towards the progress of living things to again discern the meaning of life by means of her microscopic gaze. The approximately six-minute video featured in this exhibition conveys imagery of her friend’s first-born child, a chewing mouth and wriggling fingers, and scattered reflections of light on the water’s surface captured through her intimate gaze against a backdrop of dreamy poetry and music. Hanayo’s video work that cherishes each and every precious moment in life and seeks to share and preserve the experience of beauty that is felt there, while documenting a specific moment, loses all associated information such as time, space, and subject, the result of which are glistening fragments of the infinite and the ephemeral.
Hanayo’s attitude in again confronting and engaging in artistic practice also emerges in the form rediscovering the possibilities harbored within the medium of photography. The photographs taken with her half-size Olympus camera that she has long worked with since receiving it as a memento of her grandfather during her childhood overflow with enchanting color tones and delicate nuances characteristic of analog photography. Furthermore, she has continued to create an array of dreamy images through incorporating products of chance such as over or under exposure, fluctuations, blurs, and scratches on the film and uneven development. In recent years, Hanayo, who encountered the delicate process of creating an image through experiences in the darkroom, produced a series of experimental prints that serve to enhance prominently the beauty of the grains in analog photography that has persisted as a core element of her practice. Although such works consistently capture her daily surroundings more than ever through portraits, everyday landscapes, and abstract images, the images conveyed seemingly embody a more abstract impression, in all aspects depicting an overwhelming surge of color and light.
This exhibition is made possible with support from Naoya Hatakeyama, Macoto Tezka, Shimon Minamikawa and Leo Pellagatta.
Hanayo was born in Tokyo in 1970. She studied in Paris while majoring in sculpture at Tamagawa University College of Arts. Soon after her return from Paris, Hanayo began training as a geisha apprentice in 1989 in Mukojima. She retired from the geisha world in 1995 and moved to the U.K. Currently based in Berlin and Tokyo, she makes works as a photographer, geisha, musician, and model. Her photographs and collages capture and color her daily life in a fantastic light. She has also exhibited installations, in which music and three-dimensional elements are added to her collages and photographs. She performs frequently and has participated in numerous group and international exhibitions in Japan and abroad. Her solo exhibitions include utsushiyumekuni, PARCO GALLERY (Tokyo, 2000); hanayo, Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2002); Berlin, Taka Ishii Gallery Kyoto (Kyoto, 2013). Her publications include Hanayome (Shinchosha, 1996); MAGMA (AKAAKA Art Publishing, 2008); berlin (Getsuyosha, 2013); Tenko (Case Publishing, 2016). Her music albums include wooden veil (dekorder, 2009) and Gift (DHR Geist, 2000).
Press release courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film.
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The gallery is open by appointment only until further notice.
Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film (AXIS Building) will be closed from Wednesday April 1st until further notice, in response to the spreading of the coronavirus and in following with advisory guidelines issued by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that requests people to refrain from going outdoors.