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Article

Japanese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1940, in Tokyo, Japan.

Photographer.

Nobuyoshi Araki became interested in photography at a young age. His father was an amateur photographer, and in 1952 the artist received his first camera. In 1964, at the age of 24, Araki won the Taiyo Prize for his photo series ...

Article

Iizawa Kohtaro

(b Tokyo, May 25, 1940).

Japanese photographer. He graduated from the engineering department of Chiba University in 1963 and in the same year received the Taiyō prize for Satchin (Tokyo, 1964), a photographic series whose title was the pet name of a little girl. In 1971 he published the privately printed photographic collection Senchimentaru na tabi (‘Sentimental journey’; Tokyo, 1971) in which his own private life, in particular his wedding and honeymoon, was displayed in diary form. At first glance they seem to be naive records but in fact are staged. He also gave a performance in 1972 called the Super-Photo concert in which these photographs were reproduced on a photocopier, bound and sent, as a collection, by post. He later became very popular through photographs that skilfully anticipated public demand, accompanied by essays written in a risqué style. A prolific worker, he published many collections of essays and photographs, including Otoko to onna no aida ni wa shashinki ga aru...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Japan and the USA.

Born 8 December 1957, in Quanzhou City (Fujian Province).

Painter, draughtsman, mixed media, video artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Cai Guo-Qiang trained in stage design at the Shanghai drama institute from 1981 to 1985...

Article

Cao Fei  

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1978, in Guangzhou, China.

Photographer, performance artist. Video, multimedia.

Cao Fei graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2001, having attended middle school at the same institution four years earlier. She was a co-founder of the partnership Ou Ning + Cao Fei. Her early photography and subsequent interactive sound and video-game environments, or ‘machinima’, emerged from her initial interest in commercial advertising and electronic entertainment videos. Her works often blur reality by involving virtual cosplay figures who imitate manga superhero figures, often artist friends or youths. These performances take place in the urban environment and engage the art world with virtual economies, as well as linking to the rapid modernization and consumerism emerging within China since the turn of the century. She has become known for her ongoing experimental, animated, ethnographic documentary that engages the online world of Second Life to create the virtual RMB City. The video was first shown at the Venice Biennale (China Tracy Pavilion, ...

Article

British-Chinese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Born 1977, in Hong Kong.

Installation artist, film-maker. Multimedia, video.

Suki Chan spent her early childhood in Hong Kong’s rural district of the New Territories, before emigrating with her family to Oxford, England, at the age of six. Despite the difficulties of adjusting to a second language and culture and having at times a sense of displacement, she went on to study at London’s Goldsmiths’ College, from which she graduated in ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Oct 7, 1971).

Chinese photographer, video artist and film maker . He studied in the oil painting department of the China Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou from 1991 until graduation in 1995. In 1993, for his performance piece Elsewhere, he did not speak for three months. Returning to live in Beijing (1995–7), he studied film for two weeks at the Beijing Film School (1996), and wrote his first film script for An Estranged Paradise (filmed 1997; completed 2002). In 1998 he moved to Shanghai, and began participating in exhibitions in 1999.

The mises-en-scène and careful compositions of Yang’s photographs exhibit the influence of his rigorous education as an oil painter. Lighting and colour—or the lack thereof—contribute significantly to the tenor of each work. Yang’s ability to control the framing, not just of photographic images but also of moving images, in his videos and films sets him apart from other Chinese video artists....

Article

Hyewon Lee

(b Seoul, March 13, 1967).

Korean multimedia artist active in Germany and the UK. Koo studied Western painting at Hongik University, Seoul (1985–90), and multimedia art at the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1991–7). While Koo’s drawings and photographs capture inconspicuous details of her daily life and surroundings, her installations incorporate such mundane objects as coins, rubber bands, sugar cubes, empty bottles, washing sponges and Walt Disney cartoon characters. Her interest in the fragments of everyday life not only reflects a sustained cultural interest in le quotidien in France, but is in tune with many Korean artists of her generation, who rose to significance in the Korean art world in the late 1990s, turning to small items of daily use rather than pursuing excessive visibility or the monumentality evident in the works of their predecessors.

More often than not, nestled down at insignificant corners of an exhibition space, Koo’s small-scale installations evade a viewer’s eyes at first glance. Sometimes an installation is even invisible, as in one of her two installations for the ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Ithaca, NY, 1966).

American multimedia artist. A second generation Korean–American, Joo grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and studied briefly at Wesleyan University as a biology major. He took a two-year sabbatical to work at a seed science firm in Austria and subsequently received his BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. In 1989, Joo went on to receive an MFA in sculpture from the Yale School of Art, in New Haven, CT, in 1991, after which he moved to New York.

Joo’s diverse body of work includes sculpture, video, installations and works on paper that deal with issues relating to cultural identity, the body and the relationship between science and art. His projects overlap thematically and formally as part of an ongoing series. Joo has variously implemented a wide range of materials, including monosodium glutamate, salt, taxidermy animals and even his own body, to explore the transformative moment that signals a change of state between matter and energy. Through this exchange, Joo seeks to illuminate the slippages in meaning of the subject within a prescribed cultural context. Time often functions as a cyclical and multilayered catalyst for transformation, exemplified best through his video installations such as ...

Article

Korean, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1957, in Taegu.

Installation artist, sculptor, performance artist, video artist.

Kim Soo-ja settled in New York. She uses Korean cloth in her work, which she folds, crumples or hangs; for her the fabric has symbolic weight, one tied to the culture of her country. The cloth becomes a metaphorical relation with her body. Rolled in a bundle to form a ...

Article

Japanese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in the Netherlands.

Born 1960, in Tokyo.

Installation artist. Animated films, multimedia.

Kinoshita studied music at the Musik­hochschule in Cologne, Germany, from 1981 to 1984, and experimental theatre at the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht, The Netherlands, from 1988 to 1990...

Article

Korean, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in France.

Born 1967, in Seoul.

Installation artist, photographer.

Koo Jeong-a was born in South Korea but settled in France when she was 23. In 2000 she was a member of the Académie de France in Rome. Koo creates installations that range from a clutter of everyday objects such as boxes or chairs to minimalist architectural structures made of white powder. Whichever vocabulary she chooses she uses it methodically, poetically, displaying a gently compulsive strain. There is nothing aggressive in her work except the smell of naphthalene, which she places to discourage spectators from touching it. She plays with slight sensory disturbances, as in ...

Article

Sook-Kyung Lee

One of the characteristics of Korean contemporary art is a continuous effort in employing and interpreting international art practices and discourses. Art movements from Europe and North America in particular, including Abstract Expressionism, Art informel, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Post-modernism, have influenced many Korean artists’ styles and ideas since the 1950s, providing formal and conceptual grounds for critical understandings and further experiments. Whilst some artists who maintained traditional art forms such as ink painting and calligraphy exercised modernist styles and abstract forms largely within the norms and conventions of traditional genres, a large group of artists proactively adapted to Western styles, employing new materials and techniques as well as the notions of avant-garde and experimentalism (see fig.).

A major critique of the reception of Western art and aesthetics came from ‘Minjung art’ (People’s Art) in the 1980s as part of instigating a nationalist and politically charged art strategy. Several art historians and critics who emerged in the 1990s also expanded the scope of the debate with postcolonial and pluralist points of view. The shift in social, economic and political environments played an important role in changing sensibilities in art, along with the advances of technology and new media in the 2000s. The high degree of diversity and sophistication of Korean art in terms of media and subject matters became widely acknowledged within and outside the nation, and an increasing number of artists started to work on the cutting edge of international art....

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1958, in Keelung, Taiwan.

Painter, watercolourist, photographer.

Chuan-chiu Kuo studied at the national art academy. She works and exhibits as both a painter and a photographer. As a photographer she worked for Earth Geography Magazine until 1987. Since 1989...

Article

Reena Jana

[Lee Seung-Hee]

(b Kye-Chang, Korea, 1970).

Korean photographer and filmmaker. Lee is known for her self-portraits, in which she presents herself in various ethnic and societal roles, from a middle-aged, low-income Hispanic party hostess to a young, wealthy Asian businesswoman. Lee received her BFA from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea in 1993, an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1996, and an MA in Photography, New York University, 1999. For her Projects series (1997–2001), Lee immersed herself in various American communities for extended time, from a clique of teenage skateboarders to executives who work in midtown Manhattan, informing group members of her status as an artist while assuming the wardrobe, hairstyle and mannerisms of a fictional character she sought to portray. She then asked members of these social groups to photograph her using everyday cameras and no enhanced lighting or backgrounds. The result is a series of snapshot-like images depicting the artist taking on a multitude of temporary personalities. When seen together, the photographs suggest a mosaic of American experiences....

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Beijing.

Born 1969, in Huangshi (Hubei Province), China.

Painter, photographer, performance artist.

Ma Liuming graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in Wuhan in 1991. Ma is best known as a member of the Beijing East Village collective, which worked on the outskirts of Beijing in the early 1990s. A pioneer of performance art in China, Ma focused his practice on issues of gender and sexuality through the use of his own body. During his time in the East Village, Ma developed a feminine alter ego, Fen-Ma Liuming. His performances primarily focused on domestic activities and often featured the act of cooking, such as in ...

Article

Celia Stahr

(b Bugok, South Korea, April 29, 1953).

American photographer and installation artist of Korean birth. Min came to the USA when she was seven and went on to study art at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving her BA in 1975, her MA in 1977 and her MFA in 1979. She has described herself as a child of Cold War politics and a member of the 1.5 generation who are Korean-born Americans. She occupies a liminal space, something that is often explored in her art. In Make Me (1989; see Cahan and Kocur, p. 85), she placed various texts, such as ‘Model Minority’, over four different bisected photographs of her face. These cut photographs with text force the viewer to confront common stereotypical images of Asian Americans.

In much of Min’s art, personal issues are tied to international power struggles, deCOLONIZATION (1991; see Neumaier, pp. 134–7), for example is a mixed-media installation that examines the social and psychological impact of colonialism on Korean women. In the centre of the installation a traditional Korean dress, on which there are handwritten excerpts in Korean and English from Won Ko’s poem ...

Article

Japanese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in New York.

Born 1967, in Tokyo.

Sculptor, photographer, video artist.

Mariko Mori first studied fashion design in Japan before working as a model during the late 1980s. She then went on to study in London at the Byam Shaw School of Art and Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. In ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

revised by Jennifer Way

(b Tokyo, Feb 21, 1967).

Japanese photographer, video artist, performance artist, sculptor, installation artist and painter. Mori studied fashion at the Bunka Fashion Institute in Tokyo from 1986 to 1988 and worked part-time as a model before moving to London to study at the Shaw School of Art (1988–9) and the Chelsea College of Art (1989–92), where she earned a BFA. In New York she participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992–3). In 1994 Mori returned to Tokyo and began making large digital photographs and videos in which she appears as a ‘shaman, mermaid, cyber-geisha and visitor from the future’ (Johnson, p. 56). Subsequently, she assembled teams of stylists, photographers, computer imagists, sound technicians and fabricators along with musicians and scientists to create immersive multimedia installations consisting of digital photography, music, video, cinematic spatial effects, abstract biomorphic sculptural forms, paintings and scent, engaging users and responding to data and environmental stimuli. She exhibited her art in biennale exhibitions throughout the world, for example, in Singapore, Venice, Shanghai, Sydney, Kwangju, Istanbul and Lyon. From ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Osaka, 1951).

Japanese photographer. He graduated from Kyoto City University of Art in 1978. He came to prominence in the 1980s with staged photographs and parodies of Old Master paintings. From the mid-1980s he commonly featured himself as a model in photographs based on famous works from art history, using costumes and make-up to recreate the scenes, subsequently brushing the surface with varnish to simulate the appearance of paintings. One of his first involved a self-portrait of van Gogh, but he later completed an entire series relating to Rembrandt’s corpus of self-portraits (see 1994 exh. cat.). Often Morimura portrayed himself in female roles: in his series Actor/Actresses (see 1997 exh. cat.) he portrayed Marilyn Monroe and Vivien Leigh, among others. His interest in art history led him to manipulate other canonical images, often inserting himself in the most incongruous ways: In Fish (Tamaki) 2 (1991; see 1991 exh. cat., p. 51) he incorporated his own face in place of a fish’s head. The face of each angel in ...

Article

Karen M. Fraser

(b Hyogo Prefecture, 1945).

Japanese photographer, sculptor, and conceptual artist. He studied at Kyoto City University of Fine Arts, where he earned a BFA in 1967 and an MFA in 1969. Nomura was initially trained as a sculptor. In his MFA thesis project, Tardiology (1969), Nomura explored the idea of non-permanent sculptural form, creating an eight-metre tall cardboard sculpture and then using photographs to record the changes in form as the boxes gradually collapsed under their own weight. From that point on photography was one of his primary media. Nomura was interested in investigating processes of scientific and natural phenomena with a particular focus on the passage of time. He used photographs to capture movement and changes over time and to make previously unseen things visible. Many of his projects were created over lengthy periods, with photographs being taken daily or monthly and for years. In his 1991 Analemma series (The Analemma ’91-Noon...