Light of Dance
baobab + haruka nakamura with visuals by Rinko Kawauchi
For #ClosedButActive, Japanese artist Rinko Kawauchi has kindly agreed to lend KUNST HAUS WIEN one of her most recent works: Light of Dance. The work has been produced as a collaboration between Kawauchi and the musicians baobab + haruka nakamura.
The attention Rinko Kawauchi pays to simple things, to the uniqueness of every part of life in her photographs and video works is to be seen in the context of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. This aesthetic concept anchored in Zen Buddhism stands for reduction, modesty and a deep appreciation of nature. In 2015, KUNST HAUS WIEN WIEN was able to present a comprehensive solo exhibition of Kawauchi’s work in Vienna.
Rinko Kawauchi’s photo and video works bear witness to the sublime in the seemingly unremarkbale, to the magic inherent in the plainest of things, and to the lucidity of reflection.
The impact Kawauchi’s pictures have on us is not simply due to her choice of motif, or the empathic and yet playful gaze of the artist, it stems just as much from the handling of colour, from the levitating light and deep brilliance in her photographs. Her works open up a wide field of associations, invite focused perception and meditative contemplation. The coming together of images and music in Light of Dance amplifies their associative allure.
In an email, Rinko Kawauchi wrote about the inspiring collaboration with the musicians, and how she positions the work in the context of #ClosedButActive:
“When I first heard baobab’s sound, I remember feeling memories of the past, tucked-away emotions, well up from inside and find release. I was in a small bar at that moment, but it was as if the world inside myself began to endlessly expand.
In visiting where they live, the context for their sound immediately became clear. Surrounded by trees, the family spends their days plowing the fields while creating instruments and music – bearing witness to it made me think on the concept of abundance. When Maika asked me to collaborate on a video project with them, I happily accepted there on the spot. Together in that place of abundance, we filmed; chasing after the light filtering through the leaves of the trees.
Later, when Haruka and baobab connected and began collaborating, their music gained greater depth, expanded further – it brimmed with light. So we continued filming in the forest, where our work gained strength and finally reached completion. We hope that in these bizarre and uncertain times, this is something we can share with everyone as they spend their days at home.” (Email from Rinko Kawauchi, April 17, 2020)
Especially for #ClosedButActive, the artist has composed a text to accompany her new work, adding a further, poetic dimension to the interplay of images and music:
A lone pianist from the north meets medieval musicians, siblings, from the south
The three transcend the confines of time and place, creating a sphere of light
Afloat in the air, it bursts – its particles disperse into the ether
Like flower seeds, the wind carries them
They make their way to others, those who live far away
We can go on a journey whenever we like
To a place where no one can step foot, a place all our own
— Rinko Kawauchi, Tokyo, April 2020
Further recommendations concerning the work of Rinko Kawauchi:
- Rinko Kawauchi’s website
- The musicians’ websites baobab + haruka nakamura
- Kehrer Verlag has published two of Rinko Kawauchi’s books. They can be order via their website
- On the website of photobook collector Josef Chladekyou can leaf through the three – long out of print – photobooks with which Rinko Kawauchi gained international recognition in 2001
- Galerie Priska Pasquerrepresents Rinko Kawauchi in Europe.
- Essay on Japanese Photographythat also touches on Rinko Kawauchi’s work