Reflecting on Rinko Kawauchi's Luminous Work
Inspired by Shinto, a Japanese religion devoted to the sacred essence of nature, Rinko Kawauchi considers that no subject is too brief or ordinary to be photographed. Since the beginning of her photographic career, Kawauchi's works have contained a unique aesthetic and mood, capturing intimate, poetic, and beautiful moments of the world around her. They often have brilliant and radiant light that gives them a dream-like quality.
Her subjects can be ephemeral but somehow, they determine the fragility of existence. It is precisely because of this approach to reality in the smallest details - most of which often go unnoticed - that Rinko Kawauchi's works have repeatedly been described as visual haikus and a certain ‘Japaneseness’ has been attributed to her oeuvre. On the other hand, as photography critic and historian Kōtarō Iizawa points out, her photography does not necessarily fall smoothly into the category that would be called 'Japanese style'. Rinko Kawauchi’s photography has gone beyond the confines of being Japanese and reached a level where it is representative of universal values.
A retrospective of Kawauchi's work is currently on view at Christophe Guye Galerie. The retrospective includes works from eight different series – ‘Utatane’, ‘Hanabi’, ‘the eyes, the ears’, ‘Illuminance’, ‘Ametsuchi’, ‘Halo’ as well as her most recent series ‘M/E’ and ‘as it is’ – and features 40 prints from 2001 to 2021.