BY WALL DONE, 19/04/2012
Lieko Shiga – ‘CANARY’
18th May – 17th July 2012 at Manggha Center of Japanese Art and Technology
May is a very exciting month. For a variety of reasons. One of them is a peculiar accumulation of many unique photographic venues. That alone makes us smile and wondering how to reschedule our timetable to be present at half of them. In terms of the distance the closest it gets for us is Photomonth in Krakow 2012. This year they're celebrating 10th Jubilee Edition and the main program looks nothing like monotonous. The Lieko Shiga exhibition curated by Ferdinand Brüggemann is something we definitely wouldn't want to miss.
The photographic paper is the evidence. The image printed on it had a smell like something still fresh, as it appeared before my eyes. If the time axis of this world exists inside the photograph, then I am standing completely outside of it, and in order to escape from uncertainty of the "present", which is both indecisive and elusive, I search desperately for some clue of an axis that definitely exists. Time moves forward towards my death, and the act of creating a moment of stationary time, as opposed to passing time, is something akin to prayer; the image establishes itself in line with a strong desire for and attachment to the existence of something opposed to self.
When photographing, I create a device to produce chance events, waiting to be shot by the camera at a moment that is impossible to predict in order to lose any control over the images I may intentionally hold. The verb "shoot" is used to describe the action of taking a photograph, but the same word is also used to mean "kill", therefore to be shot is to be resurrected through the action of killing. I can already visualize the finished photograph when i first encounter the subject or scene, or even before that. The time that exists before the photograph is taken, shoots me where I stand outside, and restores me to life.
The body is simply a medium, I kept a canary inside my stomach.
Look upon people or scenery that have been sacrificed through photography as offerings to the next world.
Lieko Shiga (1980) is a Japanese photographer based in Miyagi prefecture, Japan. She lived in London for several years, and graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2004. She herself explains that her limited ability in English and lack of money for expensive materials led her towards a more introverted approach and to devise her own techniques. Initially she used cheaper prints, which she cut and perforated, then backlit so light shone through the holes, and then photographed again. These were published in three books: Jacques Saw Me Tomorrow Morning, Lily, and Damien Court). Though Shiga’s techniques have evolved, her conceptual approach remains constant: for her, photographs are the sum of experiences that led her to a place—a site where she stages a scenario. For the Canary series, she asked the residents of Brisbane, Australia, and Sendai, Japan, to choose the “lightest” and “darkest” places in each city; based on that information she attempted to find links between the place and the person who chose it.
List of works (in order of appearance):
2 Wedding Veil
4 Remember that?
7 Restaurant Surtaj
8 Bon Bon Hall
10 My Husband
All images from the series, Canary 2007 © Lieko Shiga