.°. Shizuka Yokomizo .°.
The focus of Yokomizo’s photography and video work is the gap between self and other; the ineffable space that exists between "me" and "you". The object of the artist’s scrutiny is almost always a single isolated human being, but her own presence is always also implicated in this process of re-presentation, as, subsequently, is the viewer’s. The terms of the encounter between the artist and her "participant" are meticulously constructed, and it is the nature of this relationship that defines the resulting image. Thus, in contrast to the merciless "stare" of documentary photography, Yokomizo’s images reproduce a strong sense of reciprocity, and an awareness of one’s own presence in relation to another.
In the Stranger series, each photograph shows someone looking out through a window. The artist selected the subjects' addresses and then wrote an anonymous letter asking if the recipient would stand at a particular window, alone, with the room lights on, at a specific time of night so that she could photograph them from the street. The artist simply promised to be waiting. If they did not wish to participate they could close the curtains, while if they chose to open the door to meet her, the photograph would not be used. The actual face-to-face encounter would last for ten minutes, but then nothing else was to be exchanged.
In the Untitled (Hitorigoto) series, Yokomizo continues to explore the tension between the documentary and fictional aspect of photographic representation. However the artist has placed herself on the other side of the window and, by collaborating with her friends, she replaces the sense of physical and emotional distance with a world of intimacy. Rather than looking outward to acknowledge the camera the subjects look inward, as if momentarily unaware of the artist’s presence. However the scenes depicted are entirely constructed by Yokomizo and her participants. The situations are a combination of the artist’s imaginative visualisation of her friend and the subject’s own experience of their everyday life. The photographs are made with a single, given light source unique to the setting; but the figures depicted appear to radiate an inner light, as if more present to themselves, and thus to us, than the world around them. As a result, there is a continual dialogue between the theatrical and the real, with the authenticity of the images difficult to discern.
Forever (and Again) is a two-screen video projection, juxtaposing four elderly women playing the same Chopin waltz on their pianos with scenes of their homes and gardens. Yokomizo has said of this work: "The music is a concrete marking of time, it gives tangible form to that which is constantly moving through us, just as old age is an accumulation of traces of time on our body. These elderly female pianists provide meaning and beauty to what they are constantly losing, and provoke thoughts and question about eternity...".
Other works in the exhibition include an early video-work, A Boy with his Father, and two newly commissioned photographic works, Find A Date, using locally-sourced "lonely hearts" newspaper columns.
Shizuka Yokomizo was born in Tokyo and lives and works in London. Past exhibitions include a solo show at Museo d’arte Contemporanea Roma, Italy, 2002, the Venice Biennale 2003, and "Reality Check", organised by the British Council and The Photographers Gallery.