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Artistic Eye

Culture Watch
Rinkio Kawauchi's Untitled from the series Illuminance, 2009.

There’s no denying that fashion and art make great bedfellows. Just take a look at some of your favorite fashion houses’ art foundations to see how mutually beneficial these partnerships can be. And in many cases, the artists involved are an expression of the house’s mission as well.

The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, for one, encourages new talent and supports emerging forms of artistic expression. Reflecting the artistic roots of the house of Hermès, support for the production of new works of art is a central concern. True to the house's culture of artisanship, the Foundation focuses on direct funding for creative artists, for the realization of their works.

This summer, Hermès turns its New York exhibition space over to the Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi. Her new body of work, Illuminance, is the artists first solo show in the US. Her astute observation and harnessing of light sets Kawauchi’s work apart from many others in her field. She observes the most fleeting, yet ordinary moments and reveals their extraordinary nature, creating a never-ending narrative that reads as a kind of visual poetry.

Kawauchi first came on the radar in 2001with the simultaneous publication of three books—Hanako, Utatane and Hanabi— in her native Japan. In the 10 years since, Kawauchi has turned her Rolleiflex lens to the exploration of the everyday. Her images capture a world with an almost childlike perspective that can be, at times, disarming.

The first book published outside of Japan will accompany Illuminance, and is being produced by Aperture press. It features an impressive compilation of previously unpublished images and an essay by curator, writer and former director of Photoworks David Chandler.

Rinko Kawauchi: Illuminance is on view at New York’s Gallery at Hermès through July 16.

All images © Rinko Kawauchi, Courtesy of the artist and FOIL GALLERY, Tokyo.

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