They sometimes appear on a freezing winter night, and disappear by the early morning as the sun rises; these ice crystals are delicate and disappear with the slightest rise in temperature or change in humidity. These natural ice patterns are accidental drawings that appear unexpectedly. The aurora borealis seen in the polar regions also appears unexpectedly and lights up the sky in the sun and the atmospheric periphery. These natural phenomena are majestic and also symbolic while embodying the essence of raw energy that never runs out. Crystalized life radiates beauty in an instant; nature breathes around us even though it is at odds with the harsh world we now live in.
Tomoko Yoneda, December 2023
Tomoko Yoneda’s works are always deeply connected with historicity and the memory of a place, exemplified in the series titled Between Visible and Invisible in which she looks into the inner workings of people who were tossed about by the turbulence of the 20th century, or in Scene, capturing traces of events that once occurred in specific locations. It has not been mentioned, however, that the basis of her creation is a sincere appreciation of life, all life forms including humans, and a fervent wish for peace. In this exhibition, Yoneda focuses on the ephemeral yet majestic existence of the natural world, while showcasing works that suggest, “we are all small beings in a great, uncontrollable unity.”
Tomoko YONEDA, Aurora VI, 2013/2023, chromogenic print, image: 19x19cm, ed.25
The Crystals series (2013 to 2023) has been shot in freezing cold Finland. These tiny ice crystals disappear with the slightest change in the environment, but they also remind us of the cycle of nature in which they repeatedly reappear on the ground. The exhibition will unveil 24 works for the first time, including Crystals, Siberia I・II (1998/2023), photographed during a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Additionally the Aurora series taken in the village of Kilpisjärvi, Finnish Lapland, and a work of soap bubbles, a theme taken from historic symbolism of 17th century painting and philosophy referring to ‘vanitas vanitatum’ – the fragility and transience of human life.
Yoneda, who has continued to photograph various people’s memories and traces of history, has always maintained an eye for life through nature. Please look forward to the charm of Yoneda’s work, which deviates from her usual practice.
ShugoArts, December 2023
Tomoko YONEDA, Bubbles I, 2023, gelatin silver print, image: 24x19cm, ed.15
Tomoko YONEDA Crystals
Dates: Saturday, 13 January−Saturday, 24 February, 2024
Hours: 11am – 6pm, Closed on Sun, Mon and Public Holidays
Directed by Minako Ishii
*The artist will be present.
Date&Time: 24 February, 5pm – 7pm
There will be a performance at the closing reception from 6pm.
Micromusic I: 3 Pieces for Music Box (2023)
Composed by Tomi Räisänen
Performance by Janne Tateno
Tomi Räisänen is from Helsinki, studied composition at the Sibelius Academy and is active worldwide as a composer of a wide range of works, from chamber music to concertos. Last year Tomi Räisänen won the grand prize of the International Kaija Saariaho Organ Composition Competition’s concerto category in Finland. This time he has composed a suite of three pieces, ‘Crystals’, ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Aurorae’, using Tomoko Yoneda’s photographs as motifs. These will be played using the technique of hand-cranking the cardboard strip inserted into a music box. The cardboard strip is punched by hand, note by note. The performance will be given by violinist Janne Tateno, who is also from Helsinki, started playing the violin at the age of five and went on to study at Helsinki Conservatory of Music and Roosevelt University in Chicago. Since moving to Japan in 2008, Janne Tateno has been active as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician, baroque violinist, Argentine tango performer and concert producer.
Please enjoy the collaboration of photography and music.
“This small suite is for a 30-note manual music box. For each written note, a hole is punched onto a cardboard strip, similar – on a small scale – to the classic piano roll for the player piano. It’s impossible to manually punch holes with absolute mathematical precision, so the cardboard strip in itself becomes a kind of interpretation of the written score. Unlike mechanical piano rolls, these pieces are performed by a person, turning the crank of the music box at the chosen speed, with occasional accelerations and slowing the tempo. This aspect also means that each performance is more or less unique. The titles of the individual movements (I. Crystals, II. Bubbles, III. Aurorae) link directly to the works of Tomoko Yoneda.”
Tomi Räisänen, 2024
Tomoko YONEDA related exhibitions
At the Zoo — From the Tokyo Metropolitan Collection and Other Collections
Dates: Thursday, 16 November, 2023 – Monday, 8 January, 2024
Venue: TOKYO METROPOLITAN ART MUSEUM
Dates: Saturday, 23 December, 2023 – Sunday, 10 March, 2024
Venue: Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art
Remembrance beyond images
Dates: Friday, 1 March – Sunday, 9 June, 2024
Venue: TOKYO PHOTOGRAPHIC ART MUSEUM
Artists Talk-Tomoko Yoneda x Marja Pirilä
Date & Time: Saturday, 2 March, 2024 1:30pm ~ 3:30pm
Venue: TOKYO PHOTOGRAPHIC ART MUSEUM
Admission: for free
*For opening hours and more information, please check the respective museum websites.
Top image: Tomoko YONEDA, Crystals VIII, 2023, gelatin silver print, image: 35.4×28.4cm, ed.15