Through photography, performance and film, Chikako Yamashiro (b. 1976, Okinawa, Japan) dramatises the lesser-known aspects of Okinawa’s contemporary reality, while questioning dominant historical accounts of Japanese and American occupation of the islands. Yamashiro’s practice engages with political and social histories of Okinawa to create provocative and haunting works, drawing on oral accounts and often utilising her own body.
White Rainbow is delighted to announce the first UK solo exhibition by acclaimed performance and video artist Chikako Yamashiro (b.1976, Okinawa, Japan).
Yamashiro’s exhibition inaugurates a new 12 month season of exhibitions and projects by leading contemporary Japanese artists Chikako Yamashiro, Chim↑Pom, Aki Sasamoto, Taro Izumi, Meiro Koizumi and Mari Katayama. The organisation’s new non-profit model supports artist development, championing the work of emerging and mid-career Japanese artists working in a range of media, with particular focus on performance, film and installation-based practices.
Yamashiro, the winner of the Asian Art Award 2017, dramatises the lesser-known aspects of Okinawa’s contemporary reality, while questioning dominant historical accounts of Japanese and American occupation of the islands. The site of fierce battles between the US and Japan at the end of World War Two, Okinawa still has a high concentration of American military bases, occupying around 20 per cent of the land — despite the wishes of many of its indigenous inhabitants. Yamashiro’s practice engages with political and social histories of Okinawa to create provocative and haunting works, drawing on oral accounts and often utilising her own body.
Yamashiro’s early performance work OKINAWA TOURIST (2004) is a sequence of three short performances to camera: Trip to Japan, Graveyard Eisa and I Like Okinawa Sweet. Taking its name from a tourism operator on the island, the work amounts to a parody of a tour of Okinawa. Yamashiro’s deployment of cliché ridicules how such explorations of place can gloss over socio-political truths. Whether devouring ice creams in front of a military base, or staging a typical Okinawan dance in a graveyard, Yamashiro sought to show how the US military presence continues to permeate life on the island.
In Seaweed Woman (2008), Yamashiro is pictured covered in weeds, floating listlessly in the current, in the sea off Henoko. The area was known for its blue coral and population of dugongs, but was built over to construct the new American military base despite near-unanimous domestic opposition. Yamashiro mythologises herself as a creature of the sea; her own body comes to symbolise Okinawan subjugation at the hands of Japan and the United States.
More recently Yamashiro has begun to shift from performing in her own works to featuring third party subjects. Her latest film, Mud Man (2016), uses a male protagonist for the first time, and was filmed in South Korea’s Jeju and in Okinawa, with Japanese and Korean languages mixed, and the landscape of the two islands juxtaposed. The work continues Yamashiro’s interest in employing flesh and the earth as metaphors for the political body of Okinawa. Mud Man will be staged in White Rainbow’s new purpose-built cinema space.
White Rainbow will publish a new monograph on the artist, to launch in April 2018. The catalogue will include installation photographs alongside a newly commissioned essay by Isabella Maidment and an artist response by Claire Potter.
Yamashiro’s recent exhibitions include: From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art (2016-17, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco/USA), SEVEN JAPANESE ROOMS (2016-17, Fondazione Carispezia, La Spezia/Italy), 2016 Aichi Triennale (2016, the former Meiji-ya Sakae Building, Aichi), the 8th Asian Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2015-16, Queensland Art Gallery /Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane/Australia), East Asia Feminism: FANTasia (2015, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul/Korea), MAM Project 018:Chikako Yamashiro (2012, Mori Art Museum Gallery 1, Tokyo). Selected publications include: Circulating World: The Art of Chikako Yamashiro (2016, Yumiko ChibaAssociates), Chikako Yamashiro (2012, Yumiko Chiba Associates).
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2016 ”The Beginning of Creation: Abduction/ A Child , Yumiko Chiba Associates viewing room shinjuku (Tokyo/Japan)
2012-13 ”MAM Project 018:Chikako Yamashiro” Mori Art Museum Gallery 1(Tokyo)
2012 “the Body of Condonement” Yumiko Chiba Associates viewing room shinjuku (Tokyo)
2010-11 ”Choros of a Song” Yumiko Chiba Associates viewing room shinjuku (Tokyo)
2008 ”Virtual Inheritance” gallery rougheryet (Okinawa)
2007 ”Garden Talk” KANDADA (Tokyo)
2005 ”Anyway…” gallery rougheryet (Okinawa)
2004 ”OKINAWA TOURIST” Maejima Art Center (Okinawa)
2002 ”Woman at graveyard” Maejima Art Center (Okinawa)
2017 ”KYOTOGRAPHIE 2017″ Horikawa Oike Gallery (Kyoto/Japan)
2017 ”Move on Asia” Alternative Space LOOP (Seoul/Korea）
2016-17 ”From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art” Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco/USA)
2016-17 ”SEVEN JAPANESE ROOMS” Fondazione Carispezia (La Spezia/Italia)
2016 ”2016 Aichi Triennale, The former Meiji-ya Sakae Building (Nagoya/Japan)
2015-16 ”The 1st Asia Biennial/The 5th Guangzhou Triennial” Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou/China)
2015-16 ”The 8th Asian Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art” Queensland Art Gallery /Gallery of Modern Art (Brisbane/Australia)
2015 ”Local Prospects：Time, space and the sea” Mitsubishi-jisho ARTIUM(Fukuoka/Japan)
2015 ”East Asia Feminism: FANTasia” Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul/Korea)
2015 ”MOMAT Collection” The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (Tokyo/Japan)
2015 ”Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the repressed Wartime Memory, Performativity and the Documentary in Contemporary Japanese Photography and Video Art” The Genia Schreiber University Gallery, Tel Aviv University (Israel)”
2014 ”The Spiritual World Collection Exhibition 2014″ Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo)
2012-13 ”Women In between: Asian Women Artists 1984-2012″
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Fukuoka) / Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum (Okinawa) / Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts (Tochigi) / Mie Prefectural Art Museum (Mie, Japan)
2012 ”ARTLINE KASHIWA2012 ‘Kashiwa City Jack’ -Asia Pacific Contemporary Media Arts from Daisuke Miyatsu Collection” Kara deGanal (Chiba)
2011 ”Invisibleness is Visibleness” MOCA TAIPEI (Taipei/China)
2011 ”Sightseeing – A Journey Into Okinawan Art” Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum (Okinawa)
2011 ”Body Talks?” SYMPOSIA Roppongi AXIS Building (Tokyo)
2011 ”Okinawa Art Action! Video & Performance” Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum, Goza Z Spece (Okinawa)
2010-11 ”Radiant Moments The New Snapshot Contemporary Japanese Photography, vol.9″ Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo)
2010-11 ”Videozoom Japan：Re-framing the Everyday” Sala 1(Roma/ Italy, Museo Pino Pascali, Bari/ Italy)
2010 ”Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions: Searching Songs” Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo)
2010 ”When I Love You and When I Hate You” Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum (Okinawa)
2009 ”In to the Circumstances, SAKATA Kiyoko and YAMASHIRO Chikako Exhibition” Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts (Okinawa)
2009 ”Hiroshima Art Document2009″ Old Factory of Army Clothes (Hiroshima)
2009 ”In to the Atomic Sunshine in Sakima” Sakima Art Museum (Okinawa)
2009 ”In to the Atomic Sunshine in Okinawa” Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum Okinawa (Okinawa)
2008 ”OKINAWA PRISMED 1872-2008″ The National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo)
2008 ”Hiroshima Art Document2008″ Former Hiroshima Branch of Nippon Ginko (Hiroshima)
2008 ”To-Lo video screening: Tokyo-London artists’ exchange” the Stephen Lawrence Gallery ,The Stephen Lawrence Gallery (London)
2007 ”The Tracks of Okinawan Calture,1872-2007″ Okinawa Prefectural Museum &Art Museum (Okinawa)
0 year of Photograph, Citizens Gallery, PALLET (Okinawa)
VOCA2007 -the vision of cotemporary art2007, The Ueno Royal Museum (Tokyo)
2005 ”Crossovers & Rewrits: BORDERS over ASIA World Social Forum2005″ Museum of Contemporary Art Porte Alegre (Brazil)
2005 ”Kurashiki Contemporary Art biennial Exhibition, The Western 2005″ KAKE MUSEUM of ART (Okayama)
2004 ”Asahi Art Festival, Okinawa Cafe ‘Kanasan’” Rice＋ (Tokyo)