Hanako Murakami “Imaginary Landscapes”

Dates: Feb 5 – 26, 2022
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Viewing Room (TERRADA ART COMPLEX II)

The gallery will implement necessary measures to prevent coronavirus infections.

Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to present “Imaginary Landscapes,” an exhibition by Hanako Murakami from February 5 to 26, 2022. This marks the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery in six years, and will focus on her new work Imaginary Landscapes, which she has been working on since the 2020 pandemic.

I have been holing up in the darkroom at home soaking photographic paper, untouched for 100 years or more, in developing solution. When the severely damaged ones are fully developed, it produces vistas resembling raging storms. Others emerge from the fluid as what appear to be mountainous landscapes. These pieces of photographic paper may have been intended to be taken on long voyages and bring back scenes of foreign lands.

The red light of the darkroom is like what you see when you look at the sun with your eyelids closed. By all rights, when we close our eyes, anytime and anywhere, we ought to find total freedom.

March 23, 2021 in Paris
Hanako Murakami

Murakami’s works are produced through employing unused photographic materials manufactured in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The photographs, which consist of three types of support medium: paper, glass plates, and film, are respectively developed using the formulas and methods of those eras. The chemical reactions, changes in temperature and humidity over the years, and traces of the production process affect the photographic materials and reveal unexpected colors and shapes that resemble landscapes and abstract paintings. Murakami has also attempted to evoke new and unconceived landscapes through writing poetry to accompany the works, drifting back and forth between image and text. In the midst of various exhibition opportunities being lost, for the “Image 3.0″ French national photographic commission by CNAP (Le Centre National des Arts Plastiques) she proposed a completely non-physical work incorporating the use of an eye-tracking camera. Also, she engaged in the production of multiple works using a 2.5-dimensional printing technology developed by Ricoh, in its “Stare Reap” project. These times in which the possibility for events that could have happened had disappeared one after another due to the suspension of various activities, indeed appears to overlap with the “collection of innumerable photographs that may have been taken but were not,” left unused and untouched until this very day.

The book “Imaginary Landscapes” featuring these new works and poems will be published in correspondence to the exhibition. Viewers are invited to take this opportunity to bear witness to landscapes conceived at the hands of an artist who continues to question “what it means to see” as well as the very concept of photography itself, turning her gaze to the ever-changing world amidst its multitiered timelines and possibilities.

Hanako Murakami (b. 1984) lives and works in Paris. After receiving her Bachelor of Literature from the University of Tokyo, she received her MA from the Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of New Media. She continued her studies for a year in Belgium with a government scholarship. With a grant from the Pola Art Foundation, she then moved to France, where she joined Le Fresnoy National Studio of Contemporary Art. She also joined Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists in Los Angeles and New York as Agency for Cultural Affairs. Many of Hanako Murakami’s previous works were also produced based on her in-depth research of historical media, such as alternative photographic techniques or letterpress printing. Each of these series of works were accompanied by a text written by Murakami and addressing anecdotes from the original days of mechanical reproduction technology and her own experiences. Her works thus produce situations in which truth and fiction and historical fact and contemporary hypothesis are knotted together.
Her major exhibitions include “From Here to There” Japan Society, New York (2020); “La photographie à l’épreuve de l’abstraction” FRAC Normandie, Rouen (2020); “CRITERIUM 96: Hanako Murakami” Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki (2019); “Arles 2019: New Discovery Award” Ground Control Arles, Arles (2019); “ANTICAMERA (OF THE EYE)” Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (2016); “The Capital Room: Beyond Three Dimensional Logical Pictures: Hanako Murakami”, Gallery αM, Tokyo (2015); “Panorama 17” Le Fresnoy, Studio National d’Art Contemporain, Tourcoing (2015); “Practice of Everyday Life” Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Aomori (2011); “Tokyo Story” Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo (2010).

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