Past Exhibition


The Shiseido Gallery will host a solo exhibition of the London-based artist Tomoko Yoneda, whose photographicworks are based on the themes of “history” and “memory.”

The exhibition will include about 20 works, most of which are new additions to her ongoing series "Topographical Analogy," "Between Visible and Invisible" and "Scene."

Tomoko Yoneda studied photography at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Royal College and began to show her works from the early 1990s. In Japan, she has exhibited at "VOCA ― The Vision of Contemporary Art" (1999, Ueno Royal Museum), "Artists' debut" (2001, RICE Gallery) and "Kiss in the Dark, Contemporary Japanese Photography" (2001, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Marugame Genichiro Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art). She has also been featured in a number of major photography exhibitions abroad including "Fragilités - Printemps de Septembre" held in 2002 in Toulouse, France, and "History of Japanese Photography 1854-2000" held just recently at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which is now at its second venue, Cleveland Museum of Arts.

Yoneda has been working on her series "Topographical Analogy" since 1996. Through this series, Yoneda photographs the walls of residences that are about to be torn down. Viewers can feel the life of those who once inhabited these residences, through images of peeling wallpaper, traces of soot from the heater, pictures of Christ pinned to the wall, graffiti on the walls and other remnants of daily life. With the series "Between Visible and Invisible," Yoneda photographs important writings pertaining to major intellectual figures of the mid-19th century to the 20th century through the actual eyeglasses these figures used. Viewers are led to first grasp the image in the photo through the eyes of that figure, then deduce what kind of scene it was from the title of the work, and imagine the various dramatic events that took place there. Yoneda's works enable us to vision the photographed scene through many layers of understanding.

For example, the work "Trotsky's glasses - viewing a dictionary destroyed by Motolov cocktails," we learn about the fact that Trotsky, who was driven by Stalin and fled to Mexico, was the victim of assassination attempts and had his library burned when Motolov cocktails were thrown into his house. We can also reflect on the relationships and emotions of the people in the title, such as the fact that Trotsky, who fled to Mexico with the invitation of Diego Rivera, later had an affair with Rivera's wife, Frieda Carlo.

"Scene" is a group of photographs of seemingly beautiful scenery, but are in fact former World War battle fields where thousands shed blood, and thus are charged with deep sadness. Again, various facts emerge from the title, which would have otherwise been contained in the visual image.

The exhibition is based on the premise that memory is something uncertain, and that the history that lives on in one's memory is also uncertain. The exhibition's aim to question what lies beyond memory and uncertainty is embodied in the title "Beyond Memory and Uncertainty."

The works in this exhibition have significance in the way that they re-examine history, and in the way that they allow us to think about people associated with history. From the facts that we perceive from the photographs, we can stretch our imaginations to the various things surrounding that moment in time, and further, to what lies in the future. This may be the message inherent in Yoneda's works, which we invite you to see at the Shiseido Gallery.

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