Rinko Kawauchi, ‘Untitled’, 2011, ClampArt

This photograph was made the day after the earthquake in Tokyo by Rinko Kawauchi, one of the most noted Japanese photographers of her generation. She is known for her quiet aesthetic, offering viewers a glimpse of tender, fleeting moments that often go unnoticed. In this photograph Kawauchi captures the sun straining through a soot-filled sky. The resulting image is hauntingly beautiful, and a poignant illustration of the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

Signature: Signed and numbered, verso

About Rinko Kawauchi

Shooting primarily with a six-by-six format camera, Rinko Kawauchi captures natural phenomena in images characterized by a serene, poetic quality. People rarely appear in her images, which range in subject from city streets, flowers, and oceans, to a deer lying dead on the side of a road. In a series titled “Illuminance”, Kawauchi evokes ideas of dreams, temporality, and the divine; in one image, Untitled (2007), taken at the base of subway stairs, commuters climb to the station’s exit as a ray of diffuse sunlight descends the stairs, bringing a transcendent aspect. “It’s not enough that the photograph is beautiful,” she has said. “If it doesn’t move my heart, it won’t move anyone else’s heart.” Kawauchi puts careful thought into the sequencing and juxtaposition of her image displays, and has also produced video works that capture birds moving over Brighton Beach in England, or Japan’s Mount Aso during an annual field-burning ritual.

Japanese, b. 1972, Shiga, Japan, based in Tokyo, Japan