UTOPIA - Tomoko Kawai

Weekday 11:00 - 20:00

Saturdays and Holidays 11:00 - 18:30

Sundays and Mondays Closed(Except for Holidays)


UTOPIA/DISTOPIA (For Tomoko Kawai’s photographs)

1. What it means to photograph artificial landscapes:
Over the 21st century, many wild animals will doubtless become endangered. Zoos will then not be “gardens” for showing off the wonders of the world, but nurseries, or factories, for the artificial breeding of species. Scenes of life, amid the artificial: this is what Tomoko Kawai presciently photographs. A utopia that is kept warm, where they are safe from harm, is the animals’ habitat. Critical however, is how that organic and inorganic, designed mosaic is rendered in photographs. What makes Kawai’s images fresh as photographs is her tenacity in capturing the chemical light and materials, and the forms of flora and fauna, not panoramically, but as collisions of parts.

2. The photograph as new surface:
To be interesting though, this has to be more than mere irony. Or documenting. For example, just as the recent works of Wolfgang Tillmans exposed the toxicity of computer-aided design (its overly artificial colors and textures), the photos of Tomoko Kawai in turn come close to being a “new surface.” Thus photographs are only one of those “new surfaces.” The question is whether Kawai will realize this, and become a more conscious artist.

Shigeo Goto (Editor/Professor of Kyoto University of Art and Design)

artist statement

I make works that focus on ambiguous realities within contemporary society. This series shows our floating society, using that around life as its motif. All things are confined in an enclosure, the environment in which we are placed preserved. In the space where we confirm the presence of life, lines of sight pass without intersecting. Habituated eyes pass different things without going on guard. What we arrive at beyond those gazes is a representation of a now indifferent contemporary society. It is also the ambiguity of invisible realities, and how to render it in photographs? The very act of taking a photo is an exploration, and I hope to continue looking at the changing possibilities of photographs, including the significance of photography as a medium.


Tomoko Kawai

Born 1977 in Aichi prefecture. Graduated in New Media from Academy of Art University, San Francisco in 2001. Returned to Japan after working as an interactive media artist. Currently working in photography, her works focus on ambiguous realities. She is participant in “Tokyo-Ga – Describing Tokyo Scapes by 100 photoraphers,” was Second Prize winner of the Tokyo Frontline Photo Award in 2013, and has been shortlisted for Fotobookfestival Kassel’s International Photobook Dummy Award 2014.

HP: http:tomokokawai.net


Tomoko Kawai

Date : 21 July, 2014 - 9 August, 2014
Time : Weekday 11:00 - 20:00 / Saturdays and Holidays 11:00 - 18:30
Closed : Sundays and Mondays (Except for Holidays)
Entrance Fee : 800 yen / 500 yen for students (Gallery916 & 916small)

Tomoko Kawai, the photographs For enquiries regarding
the purchase of the photographs, please contact the gallery.
TEL: +81-(3)-5403-9161 / FAX: +81-(3)-5403-9162
MAIL: mail[a]gallery916.com