Tomona Matsukawa + Yusuke Yamatani “Objects in Mirror are Closer than They Appear”
[Image: Left: Tomona Matsukawa, New Hundred Years, 2020 Right: Yusuke Yamatani, FEB 26, 2019 Suginami-ku, Tokyo, 2020]
This event has ended.
Tomona Matsukawa, who finds her subjects and motifs through conversations with women of her generation, began to recognize that as she grows older herself, the “young women” of her generation are beginning to embrace different roles and social responsibilities as “wives” and “mothers.” Her most recent series “Love Yourself” focuses on the mother and child, contemplating the act of loving oneself without being defeated by the weight and prejudices of society. In addition to the remnants of daily life and the humanity that lingers in certain gestures, in painting the wrinkles appearing at the corners of one’s eyes and the skin that begins to lose its suppleness, she confronts the way in which time also begins to leave traces on the body.
Matsukawa’s new series includes imagery of the body as an indicator of the passage of time, and a flower mirrored, as if an offering to oneself, taking inspiration from the manner in which the protagonist in George Sand’s “Isidora” escapes the social standards of status and women’s beauty, and begins to accept her ageing appearance in the mirror. The mirror has appeared in Matsukawa’s previous works as a motif that reflects voices that are obscured in daily life, but in this current series, it functions to accept and love that which appears directly in the mirror, without being confounded by social fantasies or discrimination.
Yusuke Yamatani has been assigned as a photographer accompanying Ryo Isobe’s column “Reiwa gannenn no terrorism (Terrorism in the inaugural year of the Reiwa era) ” in the literary magazine Shincho, beginning in its October issue last year. Covering cases that took place since the beginning of the Reiwa era, such as the Kawasaki stabbings and the Kyoto Animation arson attack, Yamatani visited locations where these incidents took place, or where the assailants grew up. While taking photos of locations related to these cases that “expose issues that were put off during the Heisei era, ” Yamatani began to consider the differences in the daily landscapes observed by the assailants and himself, as his work also encompasses his personal life as a husband and father. Furthermore, the European tour of his performance piece “Doors” had prompted him to develop a sense of discomfort towards the way high contrast photographs seemed staged, such as in his earlier works.
Emerging from these experiences, his new series is composed of landscape photographs with a low contrast that embraces an overall grayness, presenting both images from his reportage of various incidents and scenes from his own daily landscape. The problems that arise in the self and in others from issues that were overlooked by society, and the gaze which intervenes, are succinctly yet prosaically expressed as adjacent quotidian landscapes.
In their previous exhibition together, the two artists focused on the personal spaces symbolized in the “home” and the vestiges of daily life, and the intangible aspects of human activity - in the several years since, Matsukawa and Yamatani have developed their practice while incorporating changes in their personal lives and in their creative processes. “Objects in Mirror are Closer than They Appear” is a safety warning applied on the side-view mirrors of cars in Western countries such as the US or Canada. We tend to easily forget that some things we believed to be distant from our daily lives are in reality right next to us. This exhibition culminates from each artist’s experience in confronting this sense of scale and distance as well as the landscapes that construct our quotidian, reflecting the individual’s gaze.