Mountain Fold is thrilled to announce the opening of an exhibition of photograhy by Rinko Kawauchi, “Condensation.” The solo show of the celebrated Japanese artist consists of old and new work that has collected like dewdrops on a leaf. Each, subject to natural providence, suggests daily, subtle movement and change. Kawauchi’s images evoke the melancholy aspect of her medium: photographs bear but fragmented witness to scenes passed.
A baby, closed-eyed, suckling from a breast the size of its head: in an unconscious moment we absorb pleasure and life, while intuiting how our being is at once fragile and robust. A second photograph presents the same contrast of peach skin and white fabric, yet herein the skin covers old, clean fingers, delicately folded around each other to create a round hidden space. That hand sphere, matching the baby’s head in size, likewise holds unknown silent secrets.
Kawauchi’s prints highlight delicate quotidian moments, rendered in soft, emotive colors. Sometimes focused on the figure, sometimes on an environment, her photographs share a pervasive sense of loss, of birth and death. Yet her work is hardly static in tone: her body of images conveys a wisdom of cyclical experiences. Hence a nighttime photograph of playground swings, caught in movement due to the recent departure of people, who will eventually return, or due to the force of the wind, or perhaps due to the apparitions presently seated on them.
Most earlier exhibitions of Kawauchi’s work corresponded to a series of images, based on themes such as human perceptions of nature and family. This experimental show gathers her evanescent imagery from past and present and condenses it into one: so too, she turns ethereal glimpses into dimensional art; with the hand of an alchemist, she makes material from invisible particles in the air. Similar to the psychological process of condensation, in which one thing holds broad and disparate symbolism, Kawauchi’s images represent natural processes that carry many metaphorical meanings.