Miwa Yanagi represents Japan at the 53rd Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy, with her installation entitled Windswept Women: The Old Girls’ Troupe. For this work, Miwa Yanagi takes the Japanese Pavilion, built in 1956 and designed by Takamasa Yoshizaka and covers its exterior with a black, membrane-like tent. Inside, Miwa Yanagi installs giant 4m high photograph stands containing portraits of women of varied ages. The photographs are presented in ornately designed decorative frames. The women stand unmoved despite being surrounded by turbulent wind and the scenery is surreal. In addition to the photographs, Miwa Yanagi ã‚„ãªãŽã¿ã‚ presents a new video work.
The motif of this installation is a troupe comprised exclusively of women traveling with their mobile house – a tent – on the top of their caravan. This tent, inspired by the novels of Japanese modernist writer Kobo Abe, has already appeared in Yanagi’s previous Fairy Tales (2004-05) series of staged photographs, and has been a key to expressing ambivalent themes such as the tensions between “life and death,” “past and future,” “confinement and mobility” and “everyday life and festival.”
Miwa Yanagi was born in Kobe, Japan, and completed a postgraduate course at Kyoto City University of Arts. In 1993, Yanagi held her first solo exhibition in Kyoto, where she currently lives. Since 1996, her work has been exhibited internationally.
Running concurrently with her exhibition at the 53rd Venice Biennale is a wide-ranging overview of her work at the National Museum of Art, Osaka.
Miwa Yanagi: Windswept Women: The Old Girls’ Troupe / Japanese Pavilion / Venice Biennale 2009. Opening reception, June 5, 2009.
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