Akiko Takizawa is a Japanese artist based in London. The exhibition, Over the Parched Field, showcases a selection of Takizawa’s photographs since 2006, including new works made especially for the exhibition. This is Takizawa’s first solo show in London.
Her latest series of photographs were taken in a volcanic mountain area, Osorezan in Aomori, where people go to talk to their deceased family members through a medium. Aomori is in the Tohoku area where local people live in a traditional close-knit society to survive in the severe natural environment. Takizawa grew up in a culture with a blurred border between life and death. Since she was young, she felt as if she was observing the world through the eyes of a third person. This sense of detachment to her surroundings adds an intriguing factor to the choice of the motifs in her works. Takizawa says “I feel that my camera acts as an aerial – to detect signals carrying urgent messages”. Some of her images capture the traditional and rapidly disappearing Japanese attitudes towards families and communities. One can see the distinctive switch to a more positive tone in the atmosphere she observes. Takizawa says that Osorezan (which means ‘Fear Mountain’) is one of the few places where her soul feels purely happy, even though the place sharpens her sense of isolation and solitude.
Takizawa’s exhibition at Daiwa Foundation Japan House is supported by the printing company Benrido. Based in Kyoto, Benrido has over a hundred years’ experience in the disappearing art of collotype, which requires skilful craftsmanship. The images in Takizawa’s latest series are printed using the technique of collotype, on special Washi (traditional Japanese paper).
The artist was introduced by Dr Simon Baker, Curator of Photography and International Art at the Tate Gallery.
About the contributors
Akiko Takizawa was born in Fukuoka in 1971 and completed her MA in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art in 2006. Her interdisciplinary practices involve not only photography but filming and performing art. Her work was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2006 and the exhibition toured from Liverpool to London. Her work was shortlisted for the Hitotsubo Award, one of the most prestigious photographic competitions in Japan. She was also awarded the University of Abertay Visual Arts Prize (2002), the Dundee Contemporary Arts Print Studio Residency Prize (2002), the London Print Studio Award (2002) and the Printmaking Today Award (2000).