Noguchi Rika “Rainbow”

Dates: Sep 12 – Oct 14, 2023
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery (complex665)
Opening reception: Tuesday, Sep 12, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the work of Noguchi Rika from Tuesday, September 12 through Saturday, October 14. Noguchi is celebrated both in Japan and abroad for her richly poetic photographs characterized by a luminous color palette, unique perspectives that chart a course between the microscopic and the macrocosmic, and choices of subjects that evoke primal human mysteries. Her work transcends the field of photography and has been showcased in many international exhibitions of contemporary art. This solo show, her second at the Taka Ishii Gallery, will feature her recent video piece “Lucent Sea” and 13 new photographic works “Rainbow”, shot amid sand dunes.

On the shore in springtime, I gaze out at the ocean and envision what lies beyond.
There may be someone on a distant shore, looking out across these very waters and imagining the world that I inhabit.
Does my line of sight trace a straight path across the waters? If gazes had velocity, how swift would mine be? Does it intersect with that of the imagined other somewhere on the open sea?
A boat with someone standing in its bow slowly traverses the water in front of me. As it passes, it leaves a rippling wake and the sea gleams with radiant white.

Noguchi Rika

“Lucent Sea” (2021/2023) is a video piece filmed on the seashore in Okinawa, where Noguchi lives and works, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. While embarking on a mental journey across the ocean, Noguchi documented small events unfolding on the shore. The pandemic severely constrained physical mobility and placed restraints on Noguchi’s creative process, which previously involved encountering subjects on travels to various destinations. However, this obstacle only strengthened her determination to enrich our world through the power of imagination. Her endeavor is to quietly unearth unknown realms that lurk within seemingly the familiar scenes of everyday life.

Noguchi’s new series of photographs “Rainbow” (2022 – 2023) was shot at the Tottori Sand Dunes, and captures people engaged in paragliding against a contrasting backdrop of pale blue skies and luminous sand. Made with specialized synthetic fibers, paraglider sails harness the wind and enable flightless human beings to soar momentarily through the sky. The viewer can discern that while in flight, perhaps due to instinctual caution, there is a guarded hesitancy in their legs thrust out diagonally in preparation for landing, betraying a sense of bewilderment at the unfamiliar sensation of flight. One wonders how, after their soft landing, people who have returned from a new aerial world view their surroundings.

Noguchi cites “distance” as the theme of this exhibition: the distance between the shore and the other side of the ocean, the distance from here to a rainbow, people appearing as if they have landed on a far-flung planet. We invite you to immerse yourself in the ever-expanding world of Noguchi’s work, which in recent years has expanded to encompass not only photography but also video, drawing, sculpture, and other media.

Born 1971, Omiya (current Saitama), Saitama prefecture. Currently lives and works in Naha, Okinawa. Noguchi graduated from the Department of Photography, College of Art at Nihon University in 1994. She began producing photographic works while a student at university. Her major solo shows include: “Small Miracles”, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (2022); “Light Reaching the Future”, IZU PHOTO MUSEUM, Shizuoka (2011); “The Sun”, Mongin Art Center, Seoul (2007); “Color of the Planet”, DAAD Gallery, Berlin (2006); “Somebodies: Noguchi Rika”, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2004) and “I Dreamt of Flying: Noguchi Rika”, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2004). Her Major group shows include: “Overlapping Circles”, Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Chiba (2020); Biennale of Sydney (2018); “The Living Years”, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2012); Yokohama Triennale (2011); “The Light: MATSUMOTO Yoko / NOGUCHI Rika”, The National Art Center, Tokyo (2009); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2008) Sharjah Biennial (2007); “The Door into Summer―The Age of Micropop”, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki (2007); “Moving Pictures”, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2002) / Guggenheim Museum Bilbao(2003); “Photography Today 2―[sa´it] site/sight”, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2002); “Facts of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art”, Hayward Gallery, London (2001) and “The Standard”, Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum (currently Benesse Art Site Naoshima), Kagawa (2001).

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