Rinko Kawauchi: Imperfect Photographs

Autores

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51427/com.jcs.2022.0017

Palavras-chave:

livro de fotografia, materialidade, fotografia vernacular, erro, apercepção, arte conceptual, "appresentation"

Resumo

I analyze the oeuvre of contemporary Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi through the notion of imperfection. An approach that gives precedence to process over product and combines conceptual art with vernacular traditions makes her pictures happily imperfect. Departing from Kawauchi’s transmedial concept of the image, often lying between word and image and mainly materialized through photo books, I propose that Kawauchi’s photographs are imperfectthanks to her experimentation with technical mistakes, the vernacular subject-matter of everyday snapshots, seriality, sequencing, and format variation, elliptical visibility, the aesthetics of color, and a non-linear temporality. Imperfection emphasizes the materiality of the medium, and positions photography far removed from the referent-centered documentary domain by way of aisthethic, rather than semiotic, significance. Imperfection also activates reception as it kindles emotional involvement and participant viewing. The question remains: What is perfect then? ”Imperfect” compared to what kind of standards? Are there such? My article proposes a notion of “imperfect” defined against a received norm of technical mistakes, the vernacular subject-matter of everyday snapshots, seriality, sequencing, and format variation, elliptical visibility, the aesthetics of color, and a non-linear temporality. The text is not centered on perfection, yet the term appears defined against boundaries, temporal culmination or the single individual shot configured a la Cartier-Bresson. My entire essay pivots around the imperfection concept. I believe the reader is eventually convinced that the concept works very well - if not perfectly! for reading Kawauchi’s work. What is a mistake after all? For sure some of them are mistakes, if we have standards based on photography technique guides. But fine art photography has seldom followed these rules. My text progressively unpacks the notion of  “mistake”. At this point (abstract), the text seeks to present ideas and call upon a common usage of terms to communicate with readers easily. Complications come in the development. As you also remarked, “mistake” will later appear in my text between quotation marks. Do these really make the pictures imperfect, like this sentence suggests? Is it really imperfection that activates reception? Or is it perhaps intimate/limited viewpoint and restrictions of the frame and camera technique?

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Publicado

2022-12-31

Como Citar

Masnatta, Clara. 2022. «Rinko Kawauchi: Imperfect Photographs». Compendium: Journal of Comparative Studies | Revista De Estudos Comparatistas, n. 2 (Dezembro). Lisboa, Portugal:87-101. https://doi.org/10.51427/com.jcs.2022.0017.

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