Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series: Uatatane), 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi: “Utatane” exhibition in Paris

Just a short post after a long hiatus, but I hope to post more in the upcoming months.

I know I wrote a few times about Rinko Kawauchi – with whom I had a very pleasant dinner in Tokyo a few weeks ago -, but since this is the first time that her famous series “Utatane” from 2001 is exhibited in a solo show outside Japan, I thought it is worth to mention it.

Rinko Kawauchi “Uatane”, at Art77, presented by Antoine de Vilmorin (until May 3).

Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series: Uatatane), 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

As far as I know there has not been much written about the series and book “Utatane” (in contrary to “Aila”)  and which has lead to Rinko’s national and international breakthrough. For “Utatane” (and for her book “Hanabi” [Fireworks]) the artist received the prestigious Kimura Ihei Award and the book was included in the “The Photobook: A History. Vol. 2” by Parr and Badger. Badger wrote a very interesting comment on Rinko and “Utatane” in the photobook anthology:

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.

Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series: Uatatane), 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

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.

Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series: Uatatane), 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

To be sure, Utatane, the title of her book, means ‘siesta’, which brings in the notion of a dreamlike state, and each image in the book could plausibly be considered as a still from a movie about a dream. The presence of a number of animals – insects, seagulls, koi carp, rabbits – might suggest some kind of Freudian interpretation.

Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series: Uatatane), 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

If Kawauchi in conjuring up a dreamlike state, she is also creating a powerful metaphor for life in the contemporary metropolis, which, at least economically, is comfortable for most people, on the surface. The dream evoked in Uatatane is not nightmarish. Nothing much untoward happens, yet there is enough off-kilter to awaken us from our nap feeling vaguely confused, depressed and anxious.
[Quotes: Gerry Badger]

Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series: Uatatane), 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

Recommended books:
Rinko Kawauchi: Utatane (2001)
Martin Parr, Gerry Badger: The Photobook: A History. Vol. II


  1. OBJECTIVE MATERA International Photo Contest
    Lionetti Travel Agency is pleased to announce the First International Photo Contest focusing on the city of Matera. Participation is free of charge and open to all professional and amateur photographers; anyone who has been to Matera with a camera at hand.
    Entries can be internal or external shots, portraits, landscapes, details; any aspect of Matera shown in a novel, compelling manner.
    Photographs will be classified into four different categories: People / Landscape/ Architecture/ Sequence of 3 .
    First prize €10 000 (chosen among all categories)
    prize for each category winner €1 000
    A maximum of three entries allowed per contestant.
    Entries must be send by post by January 10th 2009.
    Full details available at http://www.sassiweb.it or http://www.cometomatera.com.
    For further information:
    Agenzia Viaggi Lionetti
    Via xx settembre 9
    75100 MATERA
    +39 0835 334033
    Paola Cucciniello

    Responsabile Turismo Locale


  2. Wow… amazing.
    I like phpto and like to take it.
    And the style of this photogragh is very good and nice!

    I really want to see there photo in my real eyes.


  3. Rinko Kawauchi es una fotógrafo fantástica. Ella puede captar las sensaciones a través de su cámara.
    He podido ver un trabajo suyo en PhotoEspaña, y fue realmente extraordinario.



    Rinko Kawauchi is a fantastic photographer. She can capture feelings through his camera.
    I have seen his work in PhotoEspaña and was really extraordinary.



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