Tomoko Sawada – School Days



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MART curators Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan, in conjunction with Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund, are delighted to present the exhibition School Days by famed Japanese Artist Tomoko Sawada.

Preview: Thursday January 12th 2017 @ 6pm

Location: The MART Gallery, 190A Rathmines Rd, Lwr, Dublin 6.

Runs to: Feb 24th 2017

Open: Tues-Sat: 1-6pm 

In Conversation: Tomoko Sawada – An interview with the Artist & Curators.

Photo Gallery: MART on Facebook.

TOMOKO SAWADA (b. 1977 Kobe, Japan) uses photography to explore the relationship between one’s inner life and outer image. Sawada’s works borrow compositional devices from familiar photographic formats such as the school portrait, weddings, and fashion photography, restaging them in a satirical mode to lay bare their various stereotypes and assumptions. Contemporary portraiture can communicate various attitudes towards identity, status, individualism, time, place, culture and other connected ideas of the self. Since the late ‘90s the artist has used her performative self-portrait as a means of opening up discussion or as an enlightening tool for personal discovery, evoking the essence of ‘real’ people within a controlled environment. Sawada’s work has a sense of familiarity, comforting but also unsettling in its realism and closeness. The digital manipulation of her work feels real and her characters, believable. All of these elements culminate in a photographic document of Japanese society and the individuals that encapsulate it.

Sawada’s filmwork ‘MASK’ {2006}, a performance to camera, is projected in large format demonstrating the artist’s ability to create striking transformations of her own identity. Her own facial integrity reconstructs through 60 altering faces, as she peels off each new personality one after another. Sawada explores the relationship between one’s inner life and outer perception from society, experimenting and highlighting the artist’s skill as a costume, make up, technical and theatrical artistry of identity manufacturing. The work acts as an exploration of social, cultural and personal assessment in a contemporary society that pushes female characteristic falsehood and stereotypes on a global interconnected society.

Courtesy of MEM, Tokyo, Sawada presents her 2004 work ‘School Days’, through a series of classically framed photographs depicting several large group class portraits. Sawada impersonates hundreds of students in the series along with the typical teacher either side of each group. Wearing identical school uniforms Sawada successfully creates a large volume of individual characters by altering each person’s attire, accessories, makeup, stance and facial expression slightly, creating a series of prevailing students. The series references a tradition of bi yearly photographs taken seasonally in school from Kindergarten right up to High School graduation in Japan. Sawada set out to homogenize both her education and teenage personalities, showcasing elements of times in her own and fellow students lives of taking a risk of breaking strict school regulations and attempting to become someone different from her own self.

Also on view is selection of Sawada’s 2001 work ‘OMIAI♡’. In this photography series Sawada transformed her own personality, character and body through the aid of costumes, makeup and wigs to explore the traditional Japanese custom of ‘OMIAI’: a tradition in which individuals are introduced to each other through staged, professional photographs for the possibility of marriage, pending approval of their respective families. Either partner attempting to analyse who she/he is. Sawada intentionally both mimics and represents several stereotypical female identities, pushing the viewer to see not just a figure, but framing these new identities that sit between fantasy and reality.

Sawada has been a recipient of the Grand Prize at the Canon New Cosmos of Photography, the ICP Infinity Hyogo Arts Award and the prestigious Kimura Ihei Memorial Photography Award.

Exhibitions {Selection}: MEM / Tokyo, Pace/MacGill / New York, Rose Gallery / LA, Kulturhuset / Stockholm, Colette / Paris, Fundacio Joan Miro / Barcelona, MAK / Vienna, Gallerie P / Brussels, Culturgest / Lisbon, Musee de ‘LElyssee / Lausanne, Museum of Contemporary Photography / Chicago, Kawaskaki City Museum, Museum of Modern Art New York, IMMA / Dublin, The Getty Museum / LA.

Permanent Collections {Selection}:  The National Museum of Modern Art / Kyoto, The Getty Museum / LA, Maison Europeenne de la Photographie / Paris, The Museum of Modern Art / New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art / USA, MAK / Wien Austria, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art / USA. Hyogo prefectural Museum of Art / Japan, National Gallery of Art / USA, SAMMLUNG VERBUND / Austria.

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Freedom of Movement




Freedom of Movement

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

Curated by Deirdre Morrissey supported by Directors Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan.

The exhibition is kindly supported by The Arts Council of Ireland, an IMMA Production Residency, Goethe Institut Dublin and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.

Opening reception: Thurs 24 August 6pm – 8pm

Exhibition continues: 25 Aug – 22 Sept 2017

Gallery Open: Tues – Sat, 1pm -6pm

Closing event: Late Opening for Culture Night, Friday 22 September 2017 – 5-9pm

 

The MART Gallery’s curatorial vision for 2017 is to select artists who work under the parameters of risk and political agitation, creating powerful, informative and experimental work. We are delighted to present ‘Freedom of Movement’ an exhibition of film work by renowned German artists Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani.

MART first introduced the work of Fischer & el Sani to Ireland in 2014 when the artists presented film works ‘Narita Field Trip’ and ‘Spelling Dystopia’ in an exhibition curated by Barry Kehoe.  Both pieces were created when the artists were Associate Professors at the School of Art and Design in Sapporo City University in Japan and explored tensions that arise between the forces of globalisation and specific local narratives.

Always keen to build upon established relationships with international artists, MART has invited Fischer and El Sani back to Dublin for the presentation of two recent film installations ‘Identity’s Rule of Three’ (2015) and ‘Freedom of Movement’ (2017) These films pose questions on various aspects of human identity and society, the limits of geographical, artistic and social structure, and race relations.

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani are visual artists and directors who have worked collaboratively since the 1990s and both live and work in Berlin. Through their work they have explored narratives in various sites around the world juxtaposing hidden histories with the lived experiences of contemporary society and questioning cultural perspectives

Fischer & el Sani have participated in numerous international exhibitions, including Seoul Media City Bienniale (2014, 2012), Aichi Triennale (2013), Curitiba Biennale (2013), the Istanbul Biennale (2007), the Gwangju Biennale (2008, 2002, 1995), the Sydney Biennale (2002), Manifesta 4, Frankfurt (2002), Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art (1999).

Their solo shows have been hosted by, among others: Maxxi Museum, Rome (2017), K21 – Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf (2016), MART, Dublin (2014), Museu de Arte Moderna Aloisio Magalhães, Recife (2013), the Berlinische Galerie – Museum of Modern Art, Berlin (2012), the Austin Museum of Art – Arthouse, Austin (2012), the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art (2010), the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen (2010), Kunsthaus Glarus (2009), the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2007), Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (2005), Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo (1998)

Identity’s Rule of Three

HD, colour, stereo, 20 min., 2015

An an­i­mated film that seizes the highly controversial de­bate around the planned pre­sen­ta­tion of eth­no­log­i­cal col­lec­tions in the re­con­structed Berlin City Cas­tle as an op­por­tu­nity to en­vi­sion a dif­fer­ent fu­ture. Play­ful and yet se­ri­ous, it ex­plores ques­tions of au­then­tic­ity and iden­tity of the in­di­viduum, art, ar­chi­tec­ture and so­ci­ety.

Identity’s  Rule of Three is a collaborative work of Nina Fischer, Maroan el Sani and Bertold Stallmach.

Freedom of Movement

3 chan­nel video in­stal­la­tion, HD, 9:45 min, 2017

Evok­ing the Olympic marathon from Rome 1960, in which the Ethiopian Abebe Bik­ila con­quered the African con­ti­nent’s first gold medal, run­ning bare­foot and be­com­ing a sport­ing leg­end and a sym­bol of an Africa that is free­ing it­self of colo­nial­ism, Fis­cher & el Sani have re­con­tex­tu­alised amidst Rome’s ra­tio­nal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture, a new race in­volv­ing refugees and im­mi­grants stak­ing a claim to their “free­dom of move­ment”, also un­der­stood as the pos­si­bil­ity of being welcomed in an­other coun­try.