New Pictures 9: Rinko Kawauchi, Illuminance

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Rinko Kawauchi, Japanese, born 1972. Untitled. Chromogenic Print

Rinko Kawauchi, Japanese, born 1972. Untitled. Chromogenic Print

MINNEAPOLIS, FEBRUARY 25, 2014–Rinko Kawauchi, one of Japan’s most important and celebrated contemporary photographers, opens her first museum exhibition in the United States at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). It features a unique installation of 42 photographs selected from her series, Illuminance. Kawauchi’s photographs capture ordinary, fleeting moments of light and daily life and transform them into something extraordinary. On view February 20 through August 10, the exhibition is the latest installation of the museum’s contemporary photography series, “New Pictures.”

The Illuminance series mingles light and dark, beauty and sadness, and life and death in momentary scenes—from a solar eclipse, to refracting light, to a deer struck by a car. Widely recognized for nuanced, lushly colored images, Kawauchi views the world with a curiosity that is thought provoking, at times playful, critically detached, but always empathetic. Her distinctive style of presenting everyday scenes shot in a way that illuminates the wonderment of life has distinguished her work since her critically acclaimed debut in 2001.

Born in Shiga, Japan, in 1972, Rinko Kawauchi lives and works in Tokyo. She discovered photography while studying at Seian Junior College of Art and Design. In 2001 she simultaneously released a series of three photographic books–Utatani, Hanabi, Hanako—which created an overnight sensation in the photography world in Japan. To date, she has published 15 photo books, including two 2012 publications: Light and Shadow and Illuminance, Ametsuchi, Seeing Shadow. Her works have been shown in individual exhibitions all over the world, including at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art, and the Foundation Cartier pour l’art in Paris.

Tammy Pleshek, (612) 870-3171;
Anne-Marie Wagener, (612) 870-3280;
Emmalynn Bauer, (612) 870-6364;