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sepia EYE: Miyako Ishiuchi

Miyako Ishiuchi

Image

b. 1947 Japan

The images of Miyako Ishiuchi present us with the bittersweet residue of inevitable change. Her photographs serve as containers of accumulated memories twice removed— bookmarks placed by an unknown reader in a book which, if found later, may not be read again.

“I cannot stop [taking photographs of scars] because they are so much like a photograph… They are visible events, recorded in the past. Both the scars and the photographs are the manifestation of sorrow for the many things which cannot be retrieved and for love of life as a remembered present.” — Miyako Ishiuchi

For the 2005 Venice Biennale, Ishiuchi filled the Japan pavilion with photographic and video installations from Mother’s. The series documents her mother, a strong-willed woman who lived through tumultuous times: from life in 1930s colonial Manchuria, to wartime Japan when she worked as a truck driver. Ishiuchi’s tribute begins with a photograph of her mother, but primarily consists of “portraits” of her mother’s clothing and possessions.

Her first formative body of work, Yokosuka Story, began her long-term exploration of “traces of time.” In 1979, she was awarded Japan’s highest award for photography, the Kimura Ihei. Ishiuchi has produced over 20 monographs, most notably: Yokosuka Story (1979); Endless Night (1981); 1906 to the skin (1947); Mother’s (2002) and Clubs & Courts Yokosuka Yokohama (2007).

Among the over twenty solo exhibitions she has had since 1977, The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo presented a major retrospective of her work entitled, “Time Textured in Monochrome.” Her photographs can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

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