miho kajioka: unfinished spaces
In the Print Sales Gallery
Miho Kajioka (b.1973, Okayama, Japan) is a fine art photographer based in Kyoto. Her ethereal, minimalist work draws on the Japanese tradition of “wabi-sabi” – the appreciation of beauty in imperfection and transience, and the Zen/Taoist belief that the essence (true nature) of an object exists rather in the empty space inside and around it.
Kajioka originally studied art in Canada and the US, before returning to Japan in the late 90s where she worked as a journalist for over a decade. It was whilst reporting from the coastal city of Kamaishi, devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, that Kajioka was struck by the unexpected sight of roses blooming besides a blasted building. The contrast of such beauty and grace in the face of mass destruction was something she recognised would be impossible, even futile, to try and convey through mainstream journalism and this recognition led her back to art as a way of expressing a different kind of truth.
“What I want to introduce people to is not what we can see or even put into words, but rather something invisible and in-between.”
Her photographic work grew out of a drawing practice, echoing photography’s literal etymology as a way of drawing with light. She still finds the process of watching images appear from the developing bath magical, in tune with her philosophy of honouring the imperfection as well as the innate essence of things. The empty spaces in her carefully exposed, toned and hand-finished silver gelatin prints are as important as the subjects that emerge from the delicate surfaces. Her aesthetic reveals the prevailing paradoxes between the factual and the unknown, the visible and the invisible, evoking a particular style of melancholic beauty and inviting the viewer to complete the picture through their own mind’s eye view.
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