Rinko Kawauchi has gained international recognition for her nuanced, lushly colored images that offer closely observed fragments of everyday life. In one of her projects Ametsuchi, she shifts her attention from the micro to the macro. Based on a chant in which each character of the Japanese syllabary is used, the title translated loosely means “Song of the Universe,” as it offers a list that includes the heavens, earth, stars, and mountains. In Ametsuchi, Kawauchi brings together images of distant constellations and tiny figures lost within landscapes, as well as photographs of a traditional style of controlled-burn farming (noyaki) in which the cycles of cultivation and recovery span decades and generations. Punctuating her work are images of Buddhist rituals and other religious ceremonies—a suggestion of other means by which humankind has traditionally attempted to transcend time and memory. While her work has frequently touched on the ephemeral, often using tiny details as a point of access to the larger cycles of life, she purposely concentrates on the elemental and universal.
Kawauchi has had a number of international solo exhibitions including, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Aperture Gallery, New York, Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Centre for Art and Media, Brussels, The Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo, and Kunst Stadtforum, Innsbruck, Germany. Group exhibitions include the BIWAKO Biennal, Shiga, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, Documenta Halle, Kassel, and the Laforet Museum, Tokyo, among others.
Courtesy of Aperture Foundation
The Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo
Foundation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain, Paris
Huis Marseille, Amsterdam
Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco