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Rinko Kawauchi keeps a diary - click opera
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Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 10:48 am
Rinko Kawauchi keeps a diary

I'm asked sometimes "Who is your favourite photographer?" I reply, "Rinko Kawauchi".

Rinko Kawauchi is published by Little More, Tokyo. They helped her to public recognition, helped her win the Kimura Ihei Memorial Photo Award in 2001. (By the way, Little More's founder Masakazu Takei is a self-described yaakoo, or yakuza. He's also the publisher of visual magazine Foil.)

Rinko Kawauchi was shown this year at Fondation Cartier in Paris, and next year will be shown at Photographer's Gallery, London. Her sensibility will influence more people. More people will share my opinion that she's the best photographer working in the world just now.

Rinko Kawauchi said in her Giant Robot interview in 2003: "From the black ocean comes the appearance of light and waves. It helps you imagine birth. I want imagination in the photographs I take. It's like a prologue. You wonder, 'What's going on?' You feel something is going to happen."

Rinko Kawauchi is 33 years old. "She describes releasing the camera shutter as being as much a part of her life as drinking tea," says the Asahi Shimbun. They also report that she just kept smiling and said nothing when her classmates at school in Shiga Prefecture chatted excitedly about their favorite singers or TV programs. "I was always wondering why they liked that kind of thing,” she told Asahi Shimbun. "I really wasn’t interested in the things they cared about. I felt distant from them.”

Distant yet tender. It's a paradox, the same paradox you note when a loud-quiet popstar says "I hate hate!" or a political leader with a stick and baggy white nappies tells you to "resist peacefully!" The kind of confident, firm assertion of non-assertiveness you hear in bossa nova music or the music of Georges Brassens. The paradox you note in Ian Hamilton Finlay's work, when he carves a machine-gun and inscribes beneath it lines adapted from Virgil’s Eclogue VIII: “Flute, begin with me”.

If a machine-gun can be a flute, a flute can be a machine-gun.

Rinko Kawauchi has been described as "both heartwarming and unsettling at the same time". Photographer Kishin Shinoyama said: “Anyone who thinks her photos are designed to have a healing effect or produce some degree of happiness, which is trendy now, is making a big mistake. Her pictures are fearful. They are cruel and erotic.”

The French revolution, as sculpted by Ian Hamilton Finlay and filmed by Peter Greenaway, is both bloody and rational, Romantic and Classical, intoxicated and serene. Such tensions below that glossy, calm surface! Blood and death that underpins skin and life.

"I chose the word ‘utatane’ because it is in between being awake and being asleep. I like something with a subtle nuance.” I wanted to note that Rinko takes snapshots of daily life, but I pasted "napshots of daily life" by mistake. I liked the error and left it as it was.

Anyway, today I just wanted to signal to you that Rinko Kawauchi keeps a diary online. Here, for instance, are her thoughts and keitai photos from August 2005. You can translate the pages by pasting their URL into Amikai (be sure to click the righthand radio button). July is here.

"Money is scary... a living thing somehow... Is it a living thing or an amoeba?" (Rinko Kawauchi thinking aloud in her diary.)

Gorgeousness.

27CommentReply

svenskasfinx
NOT Greta Garbo
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 09:11 am (UTC)

"Money is scary... a living thing somehow... Is it a living thing or an amoeba?" (Rinko Kawauchi thinking aloud in her diary.)

That is an interesting thought.. perhaps very useful to think about now..I visulize it.. wow!


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Sep. 5th, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC)

I don't really get it, in which way is an amoeba not a living thing ? For me it is the essence of living things, or just the stripped down part of it.

In any case I don't think money is a living thing since it can not evolve and it does not tend to multiply (multiplied money is just worth less). A market is a better model for an organism in my opinion.

/bug


ReplyThread Parent
svenskasfinx
NOT Greta Garbo
Mon, Sep. 5th, 2005 05:51 pm (UTC)
maybe it was the way she used her words...

I don't see an ameobea as a NON-living creature, because it lives and divides ect.. (A-sexually and some people can't really consider that a "life" ;))

I think it was the image the quote gave me.... it was that which struck me (so in her innocent perpective maybe she can't see single celled creatures as living.. many people still have the problem with OTHER humans)

Maybe she worded it not in the way she intended, but the image still stuck with me... about money.. instead of being in pockets and dark places and metal boxes.. GROWING.. wow!

I mean the idea of something moving and growing isolated, or spliting and dividing like that of an ameobea seems.. really tactile and organic and mossy and beautiful.. and I personally could never see money like THAT before..

That's why I thought the quote was so unique.. so beautiful, so visual..

Its a different perspective than what was in my head.. I mean money in my head is like a "fruits of your labour"/toil and burdon sort of thing.. something we have to save and save and save because it "doesn't grow on trees" right?

Here is the words of someone who has a different perspective...she sees it as "Living" and "growing" and "consuming".. perhaps even "eating" things around it...

Multiplied money may be worth less.. but with an image like that.. it reminds me of gardeniing, the gamble it may grow is an exciting thing, the idea that not EVERYONE has a garden or even can grow money means not everyone will have very much of it.. its sort of specialized... like the ameobea or bacteria.. or moss.. or even lichen..not independent of its surroundings, but growing all the same.

:)


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 6th, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: maybe it was the way she used her words...

Maybe I just misread it and it was not meant as either/or, or else she meant amoeba just as something soulless that easily changes form.

I can clearly see money as something that eats, consumes (time, attention, love, even sanity) and something which we can not entirely control. But that is not enough for life to me. The monetary garden is a beatiful thought but hard to see in which way it corresponds to any experience I have of money. And the gardening concept seems a bit in contrast to the beginning of the qoute, hard to see a garden plant as scary ...

/bug


ReplyThread Parent
svenskasfinx
NOT Greta Garbo
Tue, Sep. 6th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
Garden plants not scary?

I can clearly see money as something that eats, consumes (time, attention, love, even sanity) and something which we can not entirely control. But that is not enough for life to me. The monetary garden is a beatiful thought but hard to see in which way it corresponds to any experience I have of money. And the gardening concept seems a bit in contrast to the beginning of the quote, hard to see a garden plant as scary ...

ah well I can see your point of view there too.. I mean.. for me, the whole garden plants (perhaps toxic ones... cos my son decided to eat honeysuckle berries a few weeks ago) seem to be scary to me because on occasion they are either in need or have to fight against weeds ect...

My experience with money would be like "middle ages" locaust infestation, during a drought..(and climate change) I've never kept up with it well myself and cherish that little handful of veg, or the one rose that I got after 6 years of work.... (yeah pathetic) in real life I wish my money would grow like my garden here in Sweden.. Summers full of fruit, my 3 years of labourous toil in order to grow something which grows so wild for everyone else.. my poppies, have finally established themselves along with the lavender I started with seeds!

oh how I wish money were so easy... ;)


Be well,

Dorian


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 09:16 am (UTC)

A little more critical distance - please --its so easy to get seduced by all things Japanese/Asian
http://stormbugblog.blogspot.com/


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 09:31 am (UTC)

But think of all the Japanese photographers I'm snubbing by failing to mention them! There must be millions! And think of all the Japanese citizens I'm snubbing with the quote about how differently from the people she went to school with Rinko sees, feels and thinks!


ReplyThread Parent
turkishb
turkishb
L'dent-de-lion
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC)

Considering your thoughts on the failure of photography to have meaning, can you suggest what would constitute a "great photographer?"

Perhaps the Japanese, with their special history of rich animistic religion, are in a better position to redeem the photograph than anyone else?


ReplyThread Parent
exliontamer
exliontamer
Her Very Lowness with her head in a sling
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 09:19 am (UTC)

That work is beautiful. Thanks.

xxx


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sparkligbeatnic
sparkligbeatnic
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 10:17 am (UTC)


Good post. I think you're on the right track with this one.


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belittlepilgrim
Zé Luís
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 11:05 am (UTC)

i totally agree with you. rinko's work is amazing. i also think she is one of the best photographers around.

i saw her work through the "rencontres d'arles 2004" curated by martin parr. in a way he is responsible for her sucess in europe.

there is a small video about her here:

http://www.arte.de/de/kunst-musik/ARTE-Kultur/587308.html

abraço,



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(Anonymous)
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 11:14 am (UTC)
yes yes, and this too

Nick,

Thank you or introducing me to her diary! She is actually my second favorite photographer right lately. Number one is my good friend Yuichiro Fujimoto (www.yuichirofujimoto.com). Do you know his work? Also are you familiar with the magazine Ku:nel here? All of their photographs are just as tender as these two.

best,
-Shawn (from Lullatone)


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Sep. 2nd, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: yes yes, and this too

i've been into her work since a few years ago. she had a solo exhibition in LA of her latest book that frankly kinda sucked. i think i like "utatane" and "hanabi" best. but for that snapshot style, i think masafumi sanai is my favorite.

btw shawn..i'll see you in nagoya in a couple weeks.
-dan (shuttle358)


ReplyThread Parent
turkishb
turkishb
L'dent-de-lion
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 01:22 pm (UTC)

I like her use of a very shallow depth of field. I've seen Sally Mann do some gorgeous things with that too.


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC)

may one ask who was your favourite photographr before rinko hit the scene. and before that ...


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC)

Maybe Ryan McGinley or Andreas Gursky, and before that Wolfgang Tillmans or Cindy Sherman.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)

That's quite an interestingly mixed bunch, pretty much covers the whole spectrum from dry to moist/wet.

While I do see what's so wonderful about Rinko Kawauchi I also tend to see her stuff as an inevitable apotheosis of all the 90s girl photography, and in that sense there's something quite sad about it (do i begin to sound like marxy here?).
There's the naive freshness of mika ninagawa's wonderful first book (http://ninamika.com/photographs/17997.html) layered with the technical and conceptual riguor of say Rika Noguchi (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_works_202_0.html), All taken, packaged and distribuited to level of relative perfection from where there's no return.

A closure.


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC)

Great! I really need some inspiration for the forthcoming photographing lessons that's gonna start in school this month!

I like that second picture with the lamp over the plant. I've noticed I got a weak heart for those kind of pictures with a certain distance between two objects. Though I am more into photos when nobody knows you're photographing, like if you never existed, but still can see.


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC)

Having seen her work in "Rencontres photographiques d'Arles" (2004) and fondation Cartier, I must say i am not so enthousiastic. It is easy to press the kawai/daily button. It always works, but it isn't enough. I am afraid this work is as seductive/attractive and perishable as Hiromix work.

Toog


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Sep. 1st, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)

Hello Toog, you're on Radio France International in 30 minutes!

I don't see Rinko's work as "kawaii" at all. It seems to me to be about fertility — in other words, there's a Shinto connection; nature religion. It's also about vulnerability and death, the other side of the fertility coin. Did you see the slideshow at the Fondation Cartier about the death of her grandmother?


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Fri, Sep. 2nd, 2005 03:28 am (UTC)


In the euro context it might have to stay tied to kawaii and shallow labels like that. Why idoesn''t Hiroshi Sugimoto?

perishable? in japan things perish due to shinto-isticaly ever fertile a-historical market and other forces (Hiromix was dis-assembled and re-assembled into Rinko Kawauchi like the Ise shrine is every 20 years)

In the west it just passes fast as oriental fad. Why does Hiroshi Sugimoto stay. Because he's got his feet planted elsewhere


ReplyThread Parent
anglerfish96
anglerfish96
anglerfish96
Fri, Sep. 2nd, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)

This is really nice.

Thanks!


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cityramica
cityramica
cityramica
Fri, Sep. 2nd, 2005 03:08 am (UTC)

her photos are nice although i think the world is more beautiful and more "cruel"/"erotic" than that...
i guess i don't see what is exceptional about her eye. maybe it just does not translate well in image-on-internet form for me.
lovely colors though...

this book i wouldn't mind having.
.
.
.
sigh. did inspire me to shoot a few photos just now. that's good.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Sep. 2nd, 2005 07:21 am (UTC)

Maybe I should have made more clear that the photos on Rinko's blog are not the photos in her exhibitions. These are keitai snaps, and although they share the sensibility and themes of her square-format camerawork, they're more throwaway. Also, she insists that you have to see a whole sequence of her pictures to get the gist of her work; no single image on its own can really communicate her vision. Her exhibitions are designed as sequences; layouts and relationships between pictures are important.


ReplyThread Parent
cityramica
cityramica
cityramica
Fri, Sep. 2nd, 2005 07:24 am (UTC)

yes upon further googling i began to like her more.
&more.


ReplyThread Parent
uchuufuku
uchuufuku
bb
Fri, Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:59 am (UTC)

I always get a bit excited when I find a new photographer who has a style I really like, it makes me see a differently for a while, and I just want to run out and take photos. Which is just the feeling I want with an free weekend ahead of me, so thank you for this post!


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Aug. 23rd, 2009 10:07 am (UTC)

Sorry to comment on such an old post, chances are you won't see this, but I'm doing my thesis on Kawauchi and I was wondering if by any chance you remember the source for Kishin Shinoyama's quote, even vaguely? I know it's been a long time!


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