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Indepth Arts News:

"Miwa Yanagi: The Incredible Tale of the Innocent Old Lady and the Heartless Young Girl"
2005-08-13 until 2005-11-06
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
Tokyo, , JP

Miwa Yanagi is an internationally active artist who uses photographs, CG and video to create unique work on the theme of women. Yanagi first attracted attention with her elevator girl series that she began in 1993. Through bold compositing of photographic images, Yanagi created a dazzling world where reality and unreality intersect, peopled by young emotionless women striking poses in beautiful uniforms. Are these images symbolic of an accelerating consumer culture or of women within contemporary society? The series caused a sensation within and outside of Japan as the essence of “contemporary” in terms of theme, content and technique. In her continuing My Grandmothers series, begun in 2000, each work is the result of a dialog between the artist and the young women selected as the models. The series consists of photographs of “ideal grandmothers” in which each model, through special effects makeup and CG, portrays herself 50 years in the future.

The centerpiece of the exhibition at the Hara Museum will be the Fairy Tale series which the artist started in 2004, providing an indication of the artist’s most recent development.

This series uses as its base tales in which young girls and old women appear, such as the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and the short story Erendira by Gabriel García Márquez. Though similar in certain aspects with the elevator girl series and My Grandmothers series, this new series represents a step in a new direction for the artist. In contrast to the previous series, Fairy Tale consists of black-and-white photographs made in an orthodox way without CG. Here, girls play both young and old roles by means of special effects makeup in strange, closed-off indoor settings that are at the same time internal landscapes from the artist's own psyche, as well as a world of metaphors and symbols that goes beyond Yanagi's own vision in a way that makes these images worthy of the appellation “fairy tale.” By no means are these images mere illustrations of the fairy tales on which they are based; they are the unique creations of the artist Miwa Yanagi which are sure to capture the imagination of all those who view them.

The Fairy Tale series to be shown at the Hara Museum will include works that appeared in the artist’s solo exhibition at the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as recently produced photographs, videos and installation.

Miwa Yanagi
snow white from the fairy tale series, 2004

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