Lieko Shiga: Chiako, from the series Canary, 2007 ©Lieko Shiga

Rinko Kawauchi, Lieko Shiga exhibitions, lectures at Photobook Festival Kassel, Germany

Next week Rinko Kawauchi will join the 3. International Photobook Festival in Kassel, Germany, where she will exhibit works from her series “Utatane” (2001).
I have already written about Rinko  here and here, therefore today just my favourite quote about “Utatane”:

Just when it seems that everything has been photographed, in every possible way, along comes a photographer, whose work is so original that the medium is renewed. Such a photographer is Rinko Kawauchi, who makes simple, lyrical pictures, so fresh and unusual that they are difficult to describe or classify. Her images documentary everyday things, yet could not be described as documentary. They are generally light in tone, yet somehow dark in mood. They are almost hallucinatory, yet seem to capture something fundamental about the psychological mood of modern life.
Garry Badger

Rinko Kawauchi, Utatane, 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi, Utatane, 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

On Saturday, May 15, Rinko will give a lecture about her work; her new book we be available as well.

And there will be an exhibition by the young women photographer Lieko Shiga.
Last year Lieko Shiga received the ICP “Infinity Award / Young Photographer” for her series Lilly and in 2008 the “Kimura Ihei Award” for “Lilly” and “Canary”. In Kassel she will exhibit works from her series Canary which I find extremely interesting. I sureley will write more about the artist in the future.

Lieko Shiga: Chiako, from the series Canary, 2007  ©Lieko Shiga

Lieko Shiga: Chiako, from the series Canary, 2007 ©Lieko Shiga

Lieko Shiga on her photography:

Be Shot and Die
… The verb “shoot” is used to describe the action of taking a photograph, but the same word is also used to mean “kill”, therefore to be shot is to be resurrected through the action of killing. I can already visualize the finished photograph when I first encounter the subject or scene, or even before that. The time that exists before the photograph is taken, shoots me where I stand outside, and restores me to life.

The body is simply a medium, I kept a canary inside my stomach.

Look upon people or scenery that have been sacrificed through photography as offerings to the next world.
Lieko Shiga

Lieko Shiga will give a lecture on Sunday, May 16.

By the way, I will give a lecture: “Liquid Dreams – Female Japanese contemporary photographers”, May 16.

Artists participating in Kassel:

– Paul Graham
– Rob Hornstra
– Rinko Kawauchi
– Sybren Kuiper
– Joachim Schmid
– Lieko Shiga
– Alec Soth
– Niels Stomps


  1. Utatane is so great, but I always feel like her other books are something of a let-down after that. I am interested in tracking down that new book you mentioned, though.

    What female photographers will you be talking about?


  2. Hi Dan,
    I have to disagree in regard to Rinko’s books. I am equally fascinated by “Aila” for example. The works in Aila have an equal visual quality and the narrative in Aila is great as well…

    Anyway in my lecture at the Photobook Festival I mentioned the following women photographers and their works:

    Miyako Ishiuchi, Miwa Yanagai (beginnig of 90s), Hiromix, Yurie Nagashima and Maki Miyashita (“Girly Photographers” /plus Nobuyoshi Araki and Nan Goldin), after 2000 Rinko Kawauchi, Mika Ninagawa, Tomoko Sawada, Rika Noguchi, Asako Narahashi and more recent Ume Kayo, Yoko Asakai, Shizuka Yokomizu and Lieko Shiga.
    This of course was not meant as an overview of female photographers at all. I had chosen these photographers for to address certain positions and developments in Japanese photography I find quite interesting.
    Women photographers I did not mention, but whom I had in mind as well were for example Michiko Kon, Tomoko Yoneda, Mikiko Hara, Yumiko Utsu…

    I am thinking about serializing the lecture in my blog and maybe to expand it to an overview of the Japanese photography from the 1980s until today. But this will certainly will take time.


  3. Haha, I thought you might disagree on that point! I don’t think I’ve seen Aila, or at least knew it when I was looking through it. I will make a point to check it out next time I’m at a bookstore or the Tokyo-to photography museum library.

    I understand that it would take a while to reformulate your talk for a blog post. I guess I’m most interested to hear about the connections you see between these photographers, or your reading of them, rather than about the photographers themselves, or an overview, as you say.


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