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Ishiuchi Miyako 
The Fabric of Photography
Hasselblad Award 2014

8 November-1 February 2015

Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako (b 1947) is the 34th recipient of the 2014 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. This exhibition presents works by Ishiuchi from the past 25 years, in which she uses the camera to investigate the intersection of the political and the personal aspects of memory.

The exhibition begins with the work 1899 – a monumental yet intimate portrait of the face and hands of Ishiuchi’s grandmother. A similar theme is seen in the series 1.9.4.7 in which the camera carefully reveals lines and patterns of hands and feet of women born in 1947, like the artist herself. For the long-term project Innocence Ishiuchi focuses on women’s scars and other marks on the body, thus forming a critique of the normative and limited view on female beauty and perfection. 

The work Mother’s came about after Ishiuchi’s mother’s death, and portrays her clothes, shoes, lipstick, and even teeth, as a way of communicating with and understanding her late parent. In the series ひろしま/hiroshima Ishiuchi has photographed preserved garments and objects that were worn by victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, 1945. The objects are photographed on a light box, hence acquiring an almost weightless and ephemeral quality.

The lines of the skin and the threads of textiles are continuous elements in Ishiuchi’s depictions of time. This is evident also in her most recent series Silken Dreams, where she is exploring the history of silk and kimonos, and in the series Frida by Ishiuchi, which is a photographic portrayal of Frida Kahlo through her belongings. One of Ishiuchi’s major contributions to photography is her investigation of the very fabric of the medium: time, memory and traces.

A book about the artist is published in conjunction with the exhibition, with new essays by

Lena Fritsch and Christopher Phillips, published by Kehrer Verlag.

Exhibition curators: Dragana Vujanovic and Louise Wolthers, Hasselblad Foundation