Miwa Yanagi – The goddess and the god separate under the peach tree
January 13 – April 14, 2018
Opening: January 12, 2018 | 7–9pm
Loock Galerie is pleased to host Miwa Yanagi´s solo exhibition showing her new photographic series "The goddess and the god separate under the peach tree" (2016/2017). 2009, almost ten years ago, Miwa Yanagi represented Japan at the 53. Venice Biennale with "Windswept Woman" (2009) and has since developed various theatre productions. Her play "Zero Hour: Tokyo Rose’s Last Tape" (2015), for which she wrote the text, conceptualized the staging, as well as designed the costumes, was shown in Japan in 2015 and then travelled to different venues in Canada and the USA among them Los Angeles and Washington.
In "The goddess and the god separate under the peach tree", Yanagi associates Japanese mythology with Fukushima, Japan´s last major tragedy. The peach-trees photographed by Yanagi are located in the district of Fukushima and their fruits had been hit by harmful rumors. Now they are checked for radioactive contamination and that Fukushima's commercially available products are safe. They are the witnesses, as well as victims of this event.
On the other hand, in the Shinto religion, the peach is a symbol of the Mother Goddess, thus of fertility and immortality. The book Kojiki, the earliest Shinto sacred text, tells the story of goddess Izanami and god Izanagi. Izanami died while giving birth to the god of fire and to the god of iron. Her husband, Izanagi, goes looking for her to the land of death where he discovers the true frightening nature of his spouse who turned into a slimy creature. In order to escape the furious goddess, Izanagi picks peaches from a tree and throws them at her. He manages to save himself and returns to the land of the living, while Izanami travels back to the land of death, dividing the world in two forever.
Miwa Yanagi draws from this traditional Japanese legend to generate a reflection about Fukushima and the resilience of all things living, as well as a reflection on the traditional perception of women. She thus asks for example whether the goddess regrets having given fire and iron to humans? The peaches, defined by the Shinto religion as the symbol of women, play, in Yanagi’s photographs, a salutary role in the rebirth after Fukushima.
The project was developed in cooperation with Kanta Farm, Japan.
Miwa Yanagi’s work has been shown worldwide in numerous solo and group shows, including the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2018), Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukushima (2010); Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Kumamoto (2010); 53. Biennale of Venice (2009); Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2008); Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (2006); Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2005); Kunsthaus Graz (2005); Moscow House of Photography (2005); Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2004); Whitney Museum of Art, New York (2003); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2003); The 6th Biennale of Lyon (2001); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000). Artworks by Miwa Yanagi are in the following private and public collections: Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Fukuoka Art Museum, Hara Museum, Tokyo, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Sammlung Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt/Main.