Self-portraits, brides of the world, and Descartes
Through a series of self-portraits taken during the last seven years, the Japanese photographer Kimiko Yoshida embodies the brides of the world.
Subverting the stereotypes which pertain to tribal minorities and segregation, she challenges the search of narcissism: she seeks erasure: erasure of the origins. Borrowing from the precept of Descartes “Larvatus Prodeo”(`I come forward masked’), and like an Ovidian tale, transforms into an African, an Indian, an Egyptian, a Russian, a Tibetan… alluding to the condition that we live in the globalization of goods and images, exceeding the possession of a fixed identity by mixing cultures, religions, rituals and references. She crossbreeds, she hybrids, she metamorphoses.
Her approach is a search for the truth: what is true, is what is real. In accordance with Rimbaud, to her the individual is multiple: “I is another”. The identity does not exist, only identifications are tangible.
Kimiko Yoshida changes and she wants to disappear into some almost monochromic representations. The face melts into the unit of color and the tribal object she borrowed, a treasure from the past that is now preserved in a museum, is revealed. This technique evokes the Japanese tradition of the doran, a white painting used by the geishas and the maïkos to erase any characteristic of their face. On the contrary, in Occident, the make-up is used to beautify, to call attention to oneself, to hide the defects. The artist hopes to approach the concept of the woman instead of the female ideal.
Everything is in the obliteration, the minimalism, the detachment. Contrary to her contemporaries, she does not look to appeal for pathos.
Changing masks infinitely, without geographical or temporal consideration, she oscillates between figuration and abstraction, showing the plurality of being as much aesthetic as philosophical. Suggesting ‘I am not the one I show. I have to take the risk to stand aside.’
This purification which worries Kimiko Yoshida turns meaningful when she entrusts “all that’s not me, that’s what interest me.”
Mark M. Whelan
The art of Kimiko Yoshida is currently exhibiting at Fine Art Gallery, 45 Orchard St, New York, 10002