Rinko Kawauchi has gained international recognition for her nuanced, lushly colored images that offer closely observed fragments of everyday life. In her latest work, she shifts her attention from the micro to the macro. The title, Ametsuchi, is comprised of two Japanese characters meaning “heaven and earth,” and is taken from the title of one of the oldest pangrams in Japanese—a chant in which each character of the Japanese syllabary is used. In Ametsuchi, Kawauchi brings together images of distant constellations and tiny figures lost within landscapes, as well as photographs of a traditional style of controlled-burn farming (yakihata) in which the cycles of cultivation and recovery span decades and generations. Punctuating the series are images of Buddhist rituals and other religious ceremonies—a suggestion of other means by which humankind has traditionally attempted to transcend time and memory.
A lovely production featuring Japanese fold pages and new work by Rinko Kawauchi. Recommended.