Asako Shimizu — On her Skin



Asako Shimizu
On her Skin

Past: November 7 → December 21, 2013

Asako Shimizu’s pure, light-drenched photographs emit an arresting beauty and harmony. We lose ourselves in her floating spaces, a half world between dream and reality, a limbo born from the union of earth and sky and in which anything is possible.

Mankind is indeed small in this majestic nature, a dot on the horizon that blends into the landscape to perhaps disappear completely, returning to the original matrix, the great void so revered in Asian religions. Or perhaps Asako Shimizu’s images are there to remind us that humanity was born from water, light and the nourishing earth, and to express our gratitude for this?

The title of the series On her Skin, is a direct reference to Her, Mother Earth, our collective and universal hearth that we so mistreat. These photographs stem from Asako Shimizu’s desire to both reconnect with her own profound self and to seek a sense of unity between man and nature, so frayed and worn. For this difficult mission, the brave Japanese artist did not hesitate to travel to the top of the world, to the extraordinary Salar de Uyuni, vast salt flat on the plateau of Bolivia. Once there, Asako Shimizu waited patiently for a message from nature, for a magical moment of grace between man, light and the elements.

Her images are moving and intuitive, captured on paper without any digital retouching. Time stops for these brief, furtive moments that are immortalized by the magic of photography and by the artist’s delicate attention to nature’s tiniest breath. With a world vision firmly anchored in Asian philosophy, Asako Shimizu sees herself as a humble cog in a vast system, compared to the self-centered, centrifugal Western world vision whose subjective gaze renders impossible any fusion or balance with nature. Shimizu recounts how, during this Bolivian mission, she rediscovered her own, deeply Japanese origins; her work, simultaneously universal and introspective, is thus steeped in the very Japanese notion of the lightness and impermanence of beings and things.

Whilst On her Skin is profoundly meditative, it is also visually hypnotic with a pictorial density that is on the verge of abstraction. Powerful yet gentle, even peaceful, the photos resemble the artist herself; delicate yet ready to brave extreme and difficult conditions in order to bring us these poetic works, moments of pure enchantment and delight.

From the snows of Hokkaido to the fogs of Portugal, Asako Shimizu pursues her odyssey and dialogue with the world in a quest for rare and random beauty, to places where the curtain slips for a fraction of a second and communion with nature is possible. Crystal-clear and with the glowing light of a new dawn, Shimizu’s images renew our respect for nature and remind us of our true place on the planet.

Valérie Douniaux, Art historian specialized in Modern and Contemporary Japanese art — English translation : Miranda Salt
NextLevel Gallery Gallery
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03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

8, rue Charlot

75003 Paris

T. 01 44 54 90 88

Filles du Calvaire
Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

The artist

  • Asako Shimizu