The Japanese artist Tokyo Rumando (born in 1980) takes on a range of roles in her series The Story of S. In an act of female empowerment, she performs as a photographer, author, make-up artist, and model all at the same time, on both sides of the camera. Taking up the radical visual language of Japanese photography of the ’60s and ’70s, the artist develops a playful game of desire and shifting identities. Tokyo Rumando is regarded as one of the most experimental young female artists in Japanese photography, and her work can now be explored in a solo exhibition for the first time in Europe.
Leaving behind the frantic hustle of the streets of Tokyo and the nocturnal allure of neon signs and billboards, Tokyo Rumando withdraws into the seclusion of her apartment and begins an intense game of role-play. Confident and conscious of the viewer’s gaze, she appears before the camera naked or dressed, disguised with a mask or make-up. In terms of motifs, some of the high-contrast, jet-black photographs are reminiscent of works by Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki, for whom she also posed a few years ago. In 2005 Tokyo Rumando transforms herself from a photographic object to a subject, taking the narrative into her own hands. In the 26-part video A-Z she presents herself in short sequences as a geisha, Marilyn Monroe, or a vamp. Against a dark background, the few props are set in a tightly framed setting. A dressing table with illuminated mirror, a chair, and a fan constitute the backdrop to her transformations. Each portrayal presents a new version that conceals the true identity of the protagonist.
Born in Tokyo in 1980, Tokyo Rumando worked as a model for films and magazines at the beginning of her career. She posed in front of the camera for shots with artists such as Nobuyoshi Araki. In the course of this experience, she began photographing and filming herself in 2005. Since then she has had solo exhibitions at Zen Foto Gallery (Tokyo, 2012), Taka Ishii Gallery (Paris, 2016) and Ibasho Gallery (Antwerp, 2018). Tokyo Rumando’s picture series Orphée was featured in the exhibition Performing for the Camera at the Tate Modern (London 2016).
6:30 p.m. with Tokyo Rumando
Fri, 7 Feb. 2020, 6.30 p.m.
Words of welcome Thomas Seelig
Artist talk with Tokyo Rumando (in English)
Drinks, Snacks and Electro Set by Shunsuke Oshio (Düsseldorf)
Participation is free.