Shiori Tono finds her motifs in photographs from her childhood taken by her parents, or in photographs that she herself has taken and stored, depicting on canvas their distortion and disintegration. She wishes to portray memories not simply to indulge in nostalgia. Her focus is on the quality particular to ‘memory’, the system itself, that cannot but be subject to disintegration and loss.
In this age of information, we are already experiencing the fragility inherent in those digital images that supplement and record our memories, as exemplified in the pixelation that is caused by the deterioration of image resolution. Shiori Tono is an artist who paints ‘memory’ in all its ephemerality, and MASAHIRO MAKI GALLERY is pleased to invite you to her first solo exhibition.
Memories are invisible, shapeless, fluid. While they are transient and fade with time, certain memories can also intensify of their own accord and in some cases, become completely rewritten. Even though we have supposedly seen it all with our own eyes, there are times when a part of our experience has not been retained at all and has disappeared completely.
These characteristics are directly reflected in the artist’s own method of production. Drawing a grid on printed photographs, as if recovering a memory that has been partially lost, she transfers the image onto the canvas, square by square.
There are two interesting features to Tono’s method of production.
Each square being painted is completely fenced off using masking tape, with the adjacent square
painted separately. In other words, adjacent squares are always hidden under masking tape, so that the coloring of any given square being painted becomes stronger or weaker, or sometimes changes, determined by a vague ‘memory’.
Second, because masking tape is affixed to and removed from the photograph repeatedly, the object itself also deteriorates, as if it were a physical manifestation of the fading and loss of memory. The artist transfers the peeling photographic image, just as it is, onto the canvas.
Thus, these ‘memories’ that have inadvertently become fragmented are reconstituted on the canvas, even as they deny their own coherence and continuity as images.
Now that we have become an information society, instead of printed photos, it is digital images that are
overflowing in society. Although digital images do not physically deteriorate as printed photographs do, repeated compression and correction leads the image further and further down the path of deterioration, causing pixelation or partial loss of data, eventually rendering it irrecoverable. Those images that manage to escape deterioration and partial data loss are left neglected, fated no longer to be seen by anyone. In other words, even digital images that seem “durable” are in fact embedded in the same system of memory.
Tono captures these unstable, uncertain ‘memories’ objectively, calmly observing their incompleteness and non-sequentiality as she transforms them into artworks.