Tokyo Rumando and Hideka Tonomura’s works depict two starkly contrasting types of reality. Rumando explores the reality of her own past inner life, while Tonomura radiates her own concept of reality on to the life surrounding her. The concept of duality (dualité) was central to the work of French philosopher and sociologist Edgar Morin. Juxtaposing the works of these two female photographers, this exhibition “Double Method” aims to use this concept to enhance the contrast between reality and fiction. The inner image of the soul can be perceived in all its strength when it is externally manifested through a strong libido. Like doppelgängers, these artworks printed on paper are physical manifestations of the souls of the artists, and they blur the borders between the objective existence of the print and the inner souls of these photographers.
Hideka Tonomura’s mama love series is an intimate portrait of the photographer’s mother’s love life, split into two distinct halves. The first part of the series, shot in black and white, shows Tonomura’s mother in bed with a lover. Tonomura obscures the lover’s face, thus focussing the viewer’s attention on that of her mother. These photographs were difficult to take, and although there are elements of pain and complicity involved, the series is intended as a statement of affection. In the second half, shot in colour, the viewer sees Tonomura’s mother counting money for a loan that needed to be repaid. The whole series is an intense exploration of the photographer’s immediate family, and photographer Nobuyoshi Araki wrote for the sleeve of the resulting photobook that it is “playing around with darkness.”
Tokyo Rumando explores the relationship between photography and performance, and engages with both provocative and light topics, such as gender exploration, identity, and humour. “Rest 3000~, Stay 5000~” is a series of images taken in Japanese love hotels that combine elements of reality and fiction: the artist’s body language in the various rooms hints at the presence of a customer or a lover, deliberately blurring the outlines of reality, and the eye is deceived by the realism of the quasi-documentary style and the artificiality of the self-portrait, suggested by the occasional appearance of the remote shutter release. In “Orphee”, the artist dresses and undresses in front of a giant round mirror, facing all the memories, projections, fears and desires reflected in its surface. “selfpolaroids” includes photographs that Tokyo Rumando has taken throughout her creative career. For the artist, polaroids are at the same time a tool of her trade, a mode of self-expression and self-empowerment, and a medium for experimentation in the development of her art.
For this event, the artists were joined in conversation by Dr Simon Baker, Director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris.
About the contributors
Tokyo Rumando (b. 1980, Tokyo) worked as surgical and psychiatric nurse, stripper and model for photographers, including Nobuyoshi Araki. She started using an instant camera as a teenager, using it to supplement her income as a dancer by selling to customers the polaroids taken during her shows. Based on her experiences modeling for movies and magazine, she started photographing herself in 2005. Her photography came to the public’s attention when her debut work Rest 3000~, Stay 5000~ was published by Zen Foto Gallery, Tokyo in 2012, followed by Orphee in 2014, and selfpolaroids in 2017, also by Zen Foto Gallery. Orphee was included in the group exhibition “Performing for the Camera” at Tate Modern in 2016. In the same year, Taka Ishii Gallery, Paris, France hosted Rumando’s first solo exhibition in Europe, I’m Only Happy When I’m Naked,.
Hideka Tonomura (b. Kobe, 1979) graduated from the Broadcasting and Filmmaking Department of Visual Arts Osaka, before starting her career as a photographer in 2002. Tonomura’ s major solo exhibitions include They Called Me Yukari / mama love (Zen Foto Gallery, Tokyo, 2013), mama love (trunk gallery 82, Seoul, 2011), Tonomura Hideka Shageki-0305- (Uplink, Tokyo, 2005), and Unlucky Family (Nikon Salon, Tokyo&Osaka, 2004). Her works have been part of several group exhibitions, including two consecutive editions of FOTOFEVER, Paris, France, in 2014 and 2015. Her photographs have been published in mama love (AKAAKA Art Publishing, 2008), They Called Me Yukari (Zen Foto Gallery, 2013) and orange elephant (Zen Foto Gallery, 2015).
Dr Simon Baker
Simon Baker is the director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. Before this, he was Senior Curator of Photography and International Art at Tate, where he worked on acquisitions, displays of the permanent collection and exhibitions at both Tate Modern and Tate Britain, and in advisory roles for Tate St Ives and Tate Liverpool. Major exhibitions on which he has worked include William Klein + Daido Moriyama (2012) and Conflict, Time, Photography (2014). His research interests encompass many aspects of the history of photography from the nineteenth century to the present day, with focuses on early to mid-twentieth century modernist photography (within and beyond Europe), the post-war avant-garde in Japan and many aspects of contemporary photographic practice.