Mika Ninagawa Biography

Known for her vivid and richly colorful photographs, Mika Ninagawa is an artist who continually challenges herself, expanding in recent years into the area of cinema, music video and even collaborations with fashion designers, while maintaining her own unique style. The vitality and splendor conveyed in her colors –known as "Ninagawa Color" – and images of teen idols and flowers stand in stark contrast to the sense of distortion, decline, stagnation and even death that she captures in other work.

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This year Ninagawa holds a major solo museum exhibition “Mika Ninagawa: Self-image” at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, which receives high recognition both domestically and internationally. Especially an art critic Midori Matsui describes the essence of the exhibition: “through her solo exhibition, I felt strong criticism towards solitude and alienation of the mass of people in the bustle of contemporary society, and reification of humans themselves as well as exploitations of non-humans / animals. (Or maybe it’s more natural to say that as the result of competition between visual experiments and interests towards society, it lead to such perspective.) ”

The Hara exhibition featured the “Self-image” series, Ninagawa’s early works that include many self-portraits. After being kept away from public view over years although she continued producing, these photographs, many of them are monochrome without “Ninagawa Color”, capture viewer’s eyes with fresh sensations of truly raw, unguarded artist herself. Also featured is the works from the “PLANT A TREE” series, which captures the passing moments of beauty of cherry blossom along the Meguro river, Tokyo, all taken in only three hours. The “noir” series depicts the extreme poles of life and death, allowing viewers to experience an overwhelming, even violent, life’s force and a deep, distorted, garishly colored darkness.

Ninagawa creates these visual experiences through which she conveys her observation and feelings towards contemporary society. Through her numerous images she often makes the boundary between individuals and the mass obscure. She conveys the situations where characteristic of small individual is swallowed into the big flow of the mass, and only through the movement of the mass the individual can express their existence as something grotesque yet beautiful, and dull yet fragile. There emerges a sense of impermanence. Moving beyond her warm gaze towards uniqueness or strength of individual, she has achieved a calm perspective that tries to understand a law of life and death of all creation.

Ninagawa Mika was born in Tokyo, and graduated from Tama Art University in 1997. She was recently appointed as an executive board member of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games by virtue of her experiences and insights in arts and culture.

Mika Ninagawa In Related Press

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