Chino Otsuka »
A World of Memories
Exhibition: – 9 Sep 2012
Sat 9 Jun 17:00
1016 EK Amsterdam
Chino Otsuka - A World of Memories
9 June - 9 September 2012
• First ever large retrospective of Chino Otsuka’s work
• Photography as ‘lieu de memoire’
The self-portrait genre is gaining ground in contemporary photography, and today’s globalised world seems to be giving rise to a new and urgent desire for a personal identity. For the Japanese-born, London-resident photographer Chino Otsuka, the quest for identity is the central theme in a notably autobiographical oeuvre. She approaches her way of ‘being’ through intriguing variations on her own self-depiction. But it is the context, in particular, within which she positions her own presence – or her absence – and the literally seamless ways in which she links the past and the present which make her oeuvre such a compelling ‘lieu de memoire’.
Imagine Finding Me
The imagined and the real, reflection and projection, past and present are all recurring themes and the driving force behind Chino Otsuka’s work. The core of this work is formed by the series Imagine finding me, a series of twelve unique ‘double self•portraits’ made between 2005 and 2009 which are created around a collection of childhood photographs taken from Otsuka's family album. Here, the older Chino Otsuka uses a digital time machine to revisit her younger self in photographs of journeys she made with her parents as a child. ‘1977 and 2009, Jardin du Luxembourg, France’ runs the caption to one such photo; ‘1982 and 2006, Tokyo, Japan’ another. The Huis Marseille exhibition will be the first occasion that these widely acclaimed photographs making up this series have been shown in full.
‘Memoriography’ and the British Library
The videos she created in 2009 and 2010 entitled Memoriography I and Memoriography II – situated in her doorway in Paris and her street in Kitakamakura, Japan, respectively – deepen the theme explored in Imagine Finding Me. Here, time itself now literally forms part of the work, as the image of the younger Otsuka gradually fades to give way to her older self. In 2007, a Pearson Creative Research Fellowship gave Chino Otsuka the opportunity to spend a year working with the British Library archives. She explored both the photographic and the sound archives, and combined her discoveries with her own visual and sonic memories. Her work has also been broadened by the incorporation of historical material, as in Memoriography from the British Library, 1906 and 2008, Kamakura, Japan: a 1906 photo from the British Library’s Photography collection, of a lonely figure standing in front of a Buddha statue in a place Otsuka knows well because her grandmother lives close by, inspired her to return to this location. Memoriography from the British Library, 1906 and 2008, Kamakura, Japan combines Otsuka’s self-portrait in the present with the location’s past. The addition of sound yields an experience that gives an even deeper dimension to her work.
A World of Memories
Huis Marseille is presenting the first retrospective of Chino Otsuka’s work over the last ten years. The exhibition A World of Memories also marks the publication of a new book, Chino Otsuka: Photo Album (€35, Dewi Lewis Publishing/The Wilson Centre for Photography), with texts by Els Barents and Greg Hobson.
In 2012 Chino Otsuka will also be contributing to the group exhibition Somewhere between me and this world – Japanese contemporary photography. This will be shown from 10 to 31 October 2012 in the Hong Kong Arts Centre and will then move on to the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, where it will be on show from 8 December 2012 until 27 January 2013.
The exhibition A World of Memories will be opened between 5pm and 7pm on Saturday 9 June 2012 by Els Barents, director of Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography.
Chino Otsuka will be present at the opening of A World of Memories in Huis Marseille. On Sunday June 10 she will be giving a guided tour of the exhibition. Please apply well in advance!