IBASHO presents an exhibition by Tokyo-based photographer Tokyo Rumando (1980). Rumando has a background in modelling and stages in her photography herself in meticulously crafted scenes as characters both existing and imagined. In her work, Rumando is the photographer, the bystander, the performer, the theme as well as the director.
Rumando’s work reveals an intuitive drive for authenticity defying gender roles that the Japanese patriarchal society puts on its women. She plays with ‘the male gaze’ parallel to her Western predecessors such as Cindy Sherman, to produce her own vision of identity, sexuality and intimacy. In that respect she is part of ‘Girlie Photographers’, a phenomenon of the mid 1990s in which photography was discovered by women and advanced to a central medium of self-expression and means of establishing an identity.
In her 2014 work Orphee, which was included in a major exhibition in Tate Modern in 2016, the artist ‘(un)dresses up’ in front of a giant circular mirror, confronting all the memories, projections, fears and desires reflected behind its surface. The sequence of images convey different women, who are yet the same person, challenging the meaning of identity without a real desire to question it. Rumando uses the mirror as a chronological border between past, present and future.
In her series Rest 3000 Stay 5000 from 2012 entered the world of the love hotels. Visiting more than 20 love hotels in Tokyo, alone with her camera, she takes us with her into this other world. We sense the excitement of the first encounter with a lover, the sometimes tragic events that occur, as well as the tawdry and sordid nature of many encounters here.
Also on exhibition at IBASHO is a collection of Polaroids from her latest series Peel Apart, that Rumando took of herself over the years. „I was a high school student when I first got the polaroid camera. It was a fun gadget to play with friends, as it could quickly capture the moment. I used to use the polaroid camera to do testing for my self portraits. Polaroids are like a documentation of reality for me, as I make works that interconnect the present, past, and future. When I look into their unique colours, I can see many beautiful colour particles like the universe – it gives me an unexplainable sense of exaltation.“
Images: Tokyo Rumando, Orphee, 2014, gelatin silver print. © Tokyo Rumando / IBASHO Gallery , (2); Tokyo Rumando, Untitled, from the series Peel Apart, 2015-16, polaroid. © Tokyo Rumando / IBASHO Gallery, (3); Tokyo Rumando, Rest 3000, Stay 5000, 2012. Gelatin silver print. © Tokyo Rumando / IBASHO Gallery , (1);
I’m only happy when I’m naked
25 January – 4 March