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Reading the collection of works "Illuminance" (Part 1)

10This collection of Kawauchi's masterpieces, which will be reissued for the New Year's Eve, is a collection that should be picked up because of the fluctuations in daily life these days. This book does not glorify the ``casual everyday life,'' but rather presents the gradual succession of life and death, as well as the shapeless world of a daydream.


10 years after Utatane was published in 2001
"Illuminance" was produced as Kawauchi's 13 collection of works that sublimated that world to even greater heights.

and then 10 years later 2021 The long-out-of-print book will be republished in a new look by the Japanese independent publisher "torch press" and the American photography agency "Aperture". became

Based on the concept of a new version that respects the original version, no changes have been made to the composition or format of the photographs, and the Dutch publisher "Fw:Books Part of the design has been renewed by designer Hans Gremen, who hosts and . In addition, the essays in the 2 book, which were additionally recorded, will be a great help in rereading the work now, 10 years after its publication.

Foil/Aperture version (first version) and torch press/Aperture version (new version) The boldly revamped cover design catches my eye, but it's also interesting to pay attention to the surroundings of the letters. The first edition uses dots that make you think of illumination, and the new edition uses ink that changes color depending on how the light hits it. Kawauchi revealed in an interview that at the beginning of production, the title of this work was to be "Iridescence", but did you change the form and reflect that idea? [*1]

Foil/Aperture version (top) and torch press/Aperture version (bottom) The design of the first edition, including the design around the letters, is based on the premise of a sparkling light world, and the work as a product stands out. On the other hand, the 10-year-old new issue is not flashy, but it is designed to make each photo and work stand out.

 “Illuminance” is a series of works that face the proposition of light, as if it means “illuminance.” This world is full of light and darkness, life and death These fragments captured by Rinko Kawauchi, which contain both beauty and sadness, transcend time and place and appeal to us what universality is. Sublime yet subtle, it opens new doors to the world we see - From "Illuminance" commentary

The illuminance is the psychological physical quantity of brightness that illuminates a plane that humans perceive. Kawauchi sees this as the fundamental theme of photography, and has compiled the photographs he has taken over the past 15 years into a book.

"Utatane" and "Illuminacance" share the same general worldview[*2], but rather than being a series Rather, it should be regarded as a work with a significantly different nature.

In the previous work, Kawauchi reigned at the center of the work as the master of the everyday scenery captured, or as the subject who "napped", whereas in "Illuminance" the phenomenon of light itself is the main axis. is In addition, the number of photographs that evoke the impression that they were "just taken of everyday life" [*3]  has decreased, and the more fragmentary impression has increased. tight knots are loosened

As a result, the photographs recorded in this book are anonymous and untouched "images" that are sometimes reminiscent of stock photos. [*4]

Spread from "Illuminance"

In addition, various forms of death hidden in everyday life are scooped up. The two works have one point in common, but as is clear from the commentary, "Utatane" further emphasizes the magic of the photographer/camera that transforms a familiar scene into an unfamiliar one. Contains many images that evoke "life" [*5] Therefore, the contrast between "life and death", in other words, "everyday life and the end of everyday life" becomes strong, and they strongly complement each other.

On the other hand, in "Illuminance", Kawauchi's way of cutting out scenes and transforming reality remains unchanged, but the common motif of light By loosely linking the photographs taken in fragments, rather than placing the images of life and death in a confrontational structure,each presented as an equivalent phenomenon

Spreads from "Illuminance"

Continuous scenes of the artist's everyday life From sexuality to the continuity of fragmentary images of the world In both anthologies, the terms “light and darkness” and “life and death” are used in the descriptions of the works, but the essence of this book is rather the “drowning” state in which the gap between dream and reality fluctuates. I think that it is to show that the ambiguous state that cannot be planned in such a confrontational structure is the appearance of this world and our daily life.



[*1] Lina Fretsch "History of Japanese Photography 1945-2017 'Japanese Photography' Seen from Europe" Diversity of " 2018, page 201

[*2] "Carps, clouds, crows, curtains, grandpa, tires, fried eggs, ants, butterflies, etc. , just a photo collection of everyday life Focus on casual landscapes, flowers and small insects that might otherwise be overlooked Through Rinko Kawauchi's camera, a simple glass becomes a glittering gemstone, an ant transforms into something stylish, and a dead pigeon evokes a frightening and unapproachable atmosphere. Fear that exists side by side with kindness A book that makes you feel strongly about life and death -From the commentary on "Utatane"

[*3] David Chandler, in his essays included in "Illuminance," left the impression that the book was told in the first person throughout, a very personal experience. While acknowledging Kawauchi's own words that each photograph is directly linked to the artist's own life and experiences, the editing method that overlaps fragments of this book creates a stream of consciousness in appreciation. In it, he states that photography suggests that it has neither the role nor the status of such a record. All photographs, with some exceptions, are inevitably deeply connected to the photographer. Despite this premise, the fragmentation and structure of the book, which are further emphasized by the square format, and the nature of photography, whose meaning changes completely when the context changes, make this book an extremely personal and sometimes raw material photography. At the same time, it gives the impression of anonymity, such as

[*4] “My memories are confused. Tari It's so real and sometimes it makes me sick Even if we don't remember the scenery we see every day, in fact, it's all in our brains, and we live with it. I always have this kind of obsession, and it's very scary, and it's also a source of inspiration. With that in mind, I named my first photo book "Utatane," and "Illuminance" has the same concept." - 2012 Tokyo Photographic Art Museum Independent Exhibition "KAWAUCHI Rinko Illuminance, Ametsuchi, Seeing Shadow" https://topmuseum.jp/contents/exhibition/topic-1593.html (accessed on 24th March 2022)

[*5] Kawauchi's photographs are not photographs that reflect the casual everyday life as they are. Instead, they use the photographer's sharp point of view and the magic of the camera to transform the subject and create new perspectives and perceptions of everyday landscapes and the world. It is often said that it makes the However, Kawauchi says that the emphasis is not on showing reality as a fantasy, but on realistically expressing the scenery and the world that he sees. See "PHOTOGRAPHICA 2009 Winter vol.17" for details.

Title: Illuminance
Artist: Rinko Kawauchi
torch press/Aperture, 2021
Hardcover with obi-band, French fold / Swiss binding
287 x 219 mm
384 pages
Text in Japanese
The tenth anniversary edition
¥6,500 + tax
Purchase herehere