We are pleased to announce Yuki Shimizu’s first exhibition at PGI.
Shimizu uses a mix of photography and prose to construct fantastical worlds. She received the 5th photography 1_WALL Grand Prize in 2011 and the 18th Miki Jun Award in 2016.
Photographer and novelist Yuki Shimizu uses a mix of images and prose to weave stories rooted in the history and lore of her landscapes. Empty park is a series based on a large park she grew up nearby. Toward the back of the park lies a shady area hidden by tall reeds and dense trees that nobody dares go near. Despite warnings to stay away and never go with strangers, she recalls being strangely attracted to the sense of fear and wonder surrounding it. So unforgettable was the area that it became the basis for this project.
Upon revisiting the park after 20 years and researching its history at the city planning and records divisions she learned that it was actually a retention pond used to store storm water. Looking at a map, she also realized that there were several small stream leading into the field that aren’t visible in person. This bizarre space from her childhood, with its ancient land and ethereal lake, both invisible in photographs, took on a new kind of irresistible charm to the photographer in her.
Normally there isn’t any water in the field and the canals found on maps are nowhere to be seen. With heavy rain, however, the field floods into a vast lake, the entirety of which can be seen from a hill in the park. A chain link fence and several warning lamps prevent anyone from entering, and when the water rises too high the lamps flicker an ominous red.
Someone from the city planning office said they were aware of these lamps but claimed to have never seen them up close. Park officials said they may have seen them on once during a storm some years ago, or then again maybe they haven’t. In fact they are automatic without anyone keeping track of them so nobody actually knows if they’ve ever come on.
Over the last decade the surrounding area has developed into a light grey suburb with new roads, new neighborhoods and plenty of new residents. Yet no one has seen the old waters silently flood the ancient field into a great lake on stormy days. No one except the warning lamps.
–excerpt from Yuki Shimizu’s project diary
Since her debut in 2012 Shimizu has constantly questioned what it means to photograph a landscape and turn it into a work of art. No matter how long you look, the passage of time means that you can never see the entirety of anywhere. Although she often feels left behind by this notion, she approaches photography as a means of capturing fleeting phantasms and fixing them to images. Rather than trying to compete with time itself like many photographers, she uses her photographs as inspiration for stories like one might do with daydreams. Each word on the page connects with a detail in her images. In this way she acts as our guide to ancient lands, ethereal lakes and, occasionally, into ourselves.
This exhibition will feature a series of digital pigment prints.
English translation by Dan Szpara
16 October – 23 November, 2019
Wed – Sat: 12:00–18:30 (appointment only on Sunday)
Closed on 3 Nov – 12 Nov
Born in Chiba, Japan in 1984. Graduated from Musashino Art University, Japan in 2007. Shimizu received the 5th photography 1_WALL Grand Prize in 2011 and the 18th Miki Jun Award in 2016. In 2018, she received the R-18 literary Award for her work as a novelist. Shimizu uses photography and prose to weave stories rooted in the history and lore of her landscapes. She has recently started writing novels as well. In 2019, she opened the tide/pool gallery in Funabashi.
Her recent solo exhibitions include Whitesands (Guardian Garden, Tokyo 2012), mayim mayim (NEW ACCIDENT, Kanazawa 2014, UNDO, Tokyo 2014), Killing bear (Nikon Salon, Tokyo 2016), Dear my phantom (Kanzan Gallery, Tokyo 2018), To the underground (Nikon Salon, Tokyo 2019) and Birthday beach (tide/pool, Chiba 2019). Recent group exhibitions include 5th 1_WALL photography exhibition (Guardian Garden, Tokyo 2011), INDEPENDENT LIGHT vol.01 (Shinjuku Ophthalmologist Gallery, Tokyo 2012), INDEPENDENT LIGHT vol.03 (Higashikawa International Photo Festival, Hokkaido 2013), Nishine-Nale 2014 (Yamagata 2014), Nakanojo Biennale (Gunma 2015, 2017) and Creative Coast Inage (Chiba City Gallery Inage, Chiba 2017).