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Hideki Kuwajima

Solo exhibition “hideki kuwajima”

21st December(Sat), 2019 – 25th January (Sat), 2020

Hours:12:00~19:00, closed Sundays,12/27-1/3 

Meet the artist: 12/24, 12/26, 1/4, 1/6,1/11, 1/13, 1/18,  1/22,   1/23, 1/25  14:00- 

Reception: 21st December(Sat) 18:00-

YOD Gallery is delighted to present "hideki kuwajima", our third solo exhibition by photographer Hideki Kuwajima. He is returning after his last show in 2015.


Until now, each of Kuwajima’s exhibitions has had a single focus. For this exhibition, as a perspective on his 30-year artist career, he is tackling multiple themes by presenting works from four distinct bodies of work. The first is the series is called“bright“. The works in this series are photos of stacked drinking glasses. The objects are arranged carefully with the end result in mind, and while the motif is simplistic, the resulting reflections of light produce immersive images.


The second series is “under neon”. Vivid neon signs photographed in Osaka are reproduced in six large photos. Kuwajima was born and raised in a shopping district in Osaka, and the bright neon lights of the surroundings were so mundane, that they all bled into each other to form an abstract background glow in eyes. ”Under neon” was born from these childhood experiences.


The third element of the exhibition is a single piece called “gravity work”. Kuwajima repeated a process of spraying an image of the Mona Lisa with a liquefied photosensitive emulsion and then exposing it to light, causing the picture to gradually disintegrate. Through numerous experiments with the falling speed of liquid, and adjusting the exposure time, he controls the rate of the decay of the image, but countless failures were involved in the process of creating this work. The inspiration for “gravity work” was extremely simple. “I was in my studio, and I dropped a brand new, beautiful ceramic cup. The shattered cup was virtually indistinguishable from its previous state, and a new kind of beauty emerged from the disintegrated shape”, Kuwajima describes the sensation that got him started on the project. He chose Mona Lisa as the motif since the painting is a universal icon of beauty. Destruction by gravity was his inspiration, and liquid photosensitive emulsion emerged as the medium which most directly connects gravity to photography.

"'The stance of doubting correctness' is an important aspect of my creative process. By unravelling universal or traditional concepts, disintegration as a new definition of beauty emerges from creative experimentation, and that is the crux of this piece”, Kuwajima says.


The fourth part of the exhibition is the work “Latent Image”. The main work consists of two large images, one stark white, and pitch black, and seem to be void of any shapes. The works are deeply related to Kuwajima’s period of hospitalization. After falling ill, during idle times in the hospital he would think back on his life. It was at such a time that he recalled the words of his late mother, who had become blind: “My eyes are clouded white so I can not see, but I can still feel that there is a present, and a future.” Kuwajima interpreted these words thusly: the darkness when she closed eyes was the past, and the dim light she saw with her open eyes was the future. He decided to create an artwork about the very “light and darkness” that is sensed by the eye.


 “I felt the need to overturn the idée fixe that a photo must contain an image. I present this work as one way of thinking that I have gained through the accumulation of my experiences of many years”, he says. As an addition to “Latent Image”, Kuwajima will also present a work that utilizes five polaroid films, which he inherited from his father. The subjects of these polaroids are “five requirements of a professional”, which Kuwajima learned from a late mentor at the beginning of his career. The motifs are chosen meticulously, and by displaying these photos as they are, he positions these principles as near-eternal. Kuwajima’s conviction is to “succeed in one shot” was the starting point of his career as a photographer. Please join us to see in person this special exhibition, which explores the artist's roots as well as 30 years of work since then.


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