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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Echo Chamber | EUCIDA 2017 EXHIBITION




Echo Chamber – EUCIDA 2017 Exhibition  

Featuring: Jeanne Briand, Adam Gibney, Fabien Leaustic, Helen Mac Mahon, Rasa SmitePaula Vitola.

Curated by Matthew Nevin of MART, Assistant Curator, Deirdre Morrissey.

Lūznava Manor Rēzeknes | Latvia: 9th June – 31st August 2017

RUA RED | Ireland: 16th June – 5th August 2017 

Gantner Multimedia Space | France: 24th June – 22nd July 2017

 

European Connections in Digital Arts / EUCIDA is a 3 year project funded by Creative Europe led by RUA RED Ireland in partnership Gantner Multimedia Space, France and Lūznava Manor Rēzeknes, Latvia. The Project aspires to work collaboratively while demonstrating innovation and high standards contributing to making the Digital Arts sector highly visible internationally.

“an echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented.”[link]

As a curatorial platform for creation of new work, Echo Chamber has encouraged the dialogue of art and technology as a means of sharing experience and creative practice. Exhibiting simultaneously across Ireland, Latvia and France it showcases six contemporary visual artists, two from each of the host countries, whose practice is rooted in various aspects of digital technology.

Its primary aim to create an accessible conversation and debate between the digital arts, technology, politics, culture and society in an accessible way to a European wide public. The three parallel exhibitions, which mirror each other, will analyse how culture, politics and socio-economical issues are bounced around, applauded, and never truly open within one’s own Echo Chamber; i.e colleagues, friends, families etc.

The exhibitions provide a platform for the artists to push conversation beyond the normal realms of an art audience or local groups, to a further international and trans European audience. By encouraging participating artists to explore and reinvent material, technologies and methodologies, Matthew Nevin, the curator, has worked alongside the artists to re/produce work that can provoke the limitations of the ‘Echo Chamber of the normal gallery environment, into producing powerful, informative and experimental new work to a wider audience.  

These artists, often working as the mirror for society, will create new dialogues that challenge conventional views on politics and culture; pushing for examination of our preconceived expectations of what is contemporary art and its relevance to the society we live in. The curator has encouraged the artists to be reactionary and politically engaged in their approach to their practice and tease out new radical ways of viewing and perceiving their art works through technology.

Helen Mac Mahon, who creates artwork through experimentation and investigation into the phenomena of light, movement, perception and space, has produced ‘Mirror Affect’ an interactive piece playing with the mirrored image using a combination of everyday objects and live digital technology.

Jeanne Briand forges links with new technology and craftsmanship to create beautiful sculptural pieces that reference fantasy and trans-aesthetics. Briand’s ‘Gamete Glass’ propose a new form of life, and the origin of the sounds they emit serves to raise questions in the viewer’s mind about the artifice or real existence of the animated forms.  

Fabien Leaustic creates sculptural work which while physical has an ephemeral aesthetic. Leaustic’s work ‘Hello World’ activated by the presence of the visitor disturbs our interpretation of our world, evoking an emotional response juggling a naive optimism and a dark poetic duality that defines us.  

Rasa Smite is an artist, network researcher and cultural innovator, working with science and emerging media technologies. Smite’s artwork ‘Talk to Me’ is a human-plant communication interface, through which people were asked to send encouraging messages via text & social media to the growing plants, “equipped” with web-cam, wi-fi and loudspeakers.

Adam Gibney’s artwork is generally realised through sculpture, installation, sound and video. ‘Conundrum 8: I am somewhere between we and they’ questions the political and personal use of pronouns. Playing a key role in the construction of the ‘self’ and the ‘other’, pronouns help toward the creation and division of societies. 

Paula Vitola works through media art & archeology, researching relationships between human and technology. Her work encompasses experimenting with technology and nature, programming and gadget-hacking.

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