Miwako Iga: Narrative & Non-Narrative

Venue: HRD Fine Art
Date: April 14 - June 4, 2022
Hours: Thu 11:00am - 3:00pm / Fri & Sat & May 3, 4 11:00am - 7:00pm
Closed: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed (Open by appointment) / Specially open on May 3 (Tue) & 4 (Wed)

HRD Fine Art is delighted to announce the opening of a solo exhibition of Miwako Iga, titled gNarrative & Non-Narrative,h which will be on view from April 14th through June 4th. Awarded the New Cosmos of Photography Prize as early as in 1999, Iga's photographic works have been highly acclaimed in Japan and abroad alike. Recently Iga has started producing painting and drawing as well, expanding her creative range. This show will be the artist's first ever solo exhibition in Kyoto, and it is also an affiliate program of "KG+ 2022," a satellite event of "Kyotographie International Photography Festival."

Miwako Iga was born in Tokyo in 1966. In her trademark photographic work, Iga uses small, mass-produced toys and dolls as well as props that she handmakes herself. Like a stage director, she constructs dramatic scenes rich in narrative allusions, or absurd spectacles seemingly devoid of meaning, and photographs them. Her work, which can be categorized both as a kind of staged photography and as a variant of ready-made, draws inspiration from her childhood memory of watching cheap, primitive chroma-key images on TV and in the movies. Thus, her works can look virulent, comical, or strangely realistic.

In this exhibition she presents the latest series of works that are based on famous Japanese novels and other literature works, as well as some older works from the series called "Playthings" that depict messed-up dolls and toys without apparent narrative quality. Thus, by juxtaposing the dolls that play their part and those that don't, Iga brings the viewers to a realm where reality and fictitiousness blend together in a complex manner.

Are our lives "narrative" or "non-narrative"? Miwako Iga's work causes us to ponder over this question. In her work, various thoughts on human life are intertwined with each other. With the ongoing global pandemic and, more recently, the war, we have seen unrealistic, incredulous events unfolding in front of our very eyes. And as such, one might be tempted to say her photographs curiously reflect the very current situation of the world.

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Artist's Statement

I would often create photographic story-shows, like four frame-cartoons. Recently, however, I have been shifting my style to create a single ,self-contained piece of work that depicts one climactic scene from a longer story.

Human beings float on chaotic society and private life in a fine balance between two sides of extremes such as oppression and liberation, hiding and revealing, and expectation and desperation. Yet, one can still be carried away to go to extremes. Extremity entails drama. No matter how sad or happy the drama is, or how less we're satisfied, we would play our role in ecstasies. In our all-too-ordinary everyday life, extremity can be ignited anytime, anywhere. These days, as I work on my creation, I cannot help but realize the fragility of human beings, always under the control and manipulation of something else, just like my dolls.

- Miwako Iga

"The Revenge Game (Forbidden Colors)" | C-print | 28.5x19cm | 2020

"Naomi, the Heroine of Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's 'Naomi'" | C-print | 20x28.5cm | 2015

"Lemon" | C-print | 28.5x19cm | 2022

"The Temple of the Golden Pavilion" | C-print | 27.5x41.1cm | 2022
Exhibition View
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