Hanayo “Hanayo IV – Keep an Eye Shut I”

Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film

poster for Hanayo “Hanayo IV – Keep an Eye Shut I”
[Image: Hanayo “Untitled” (1997) C-print © Hanayo]

This event has ended.

Hanayo, who began her career in the late 1980s, has developed a unique style of expression based on a unique worldview that has been described as the “flower world” while traversing multiple domains as a geisha, model, actress, singer, performer, photographer, and artist. The exhibition will focus on the artist’s early works from around 1989 to 1996, including works from her first solo exhibition “Hanayo” at Taka Ishii Gallery in 1996.

Hanayo joined the photography club at junior high school and received an Olympus half-size camera from her father as a memento of her grandfather’s death. She began taking photographs of her surroundings and the people she met around 1989. When she was in high school, she founded the coterie magazine “Josei Tsushin” with her friends and modeled for the serial novel “Tokyo Tongari Kids” in the culture magazine “Takarajima. She became an icon of the times. In 1999, she moved to Berlin, where she met the brilliant film director Christoph Schlingensief. After returning to Japan in 2010, she began to work with black-and-white photography as a new medium and has continued to show her photographs from her base in Tokyo.

In 1996, Hanayo’s daughter, Tenko, was born, a year that would later become an important motif in her work. In contrast to her work after moving to England, in which people around Hanayo, including Tenko, appear frequently, Hanayo’s surrealist works, in which the objects, dolls, and other toys she was collecting at the time are used as subjects, show the fictional landscape that she created. Hanayo has been photographing her everyday surroundings, including portraits, everyday scenes, and abstract images, as she is drawn to them. In addition to the captivating colors and delicate nuances of analog, she has created a fantastical world that is somewhat different from the real world by introducing accidental products such as underexposure and uneven development. These characteristics are already evident in her early works shown in this exhibition

Hanayo’s work is not limited to a single frame but continues to develop in a unique expansion and linkage of multiple domains. She has not titled most of the photographs she has published, nor has she created a series of them, and she refuses to associate her own work with any particular proper noun or category. The images she has produced in this way are loosely chained together with her own unique tone, and by freeing them from the accompanying information of time, space, and place, they form a world of Hanayo’s work where the beauty and fragility of this world intersect.



from August 06, 2021 to September 11, 2021
Closed from August 8 to 16. By appointment only on the first day.





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