Perhaps unwittingly, or even in spite of itself, Kumi Oguro’s photographic work has from the outset been drawn towards cinema.
This permeation could not be described as a debt in the strict sense, nor is it nurtured by explicit or obliging citations or references. Instead it feels its way, spontaneously seeking its own path and its own markers. Over the course of her career, these relationships (the staging of locations, placing bodies in real-life situations, the expressionist use of light, the theatrical play between actors, indications of an off-camera area, effects designed to create tension, veiled references to the logic of genres, etc.) have become undeniably more complex, but also increasingly diverse.
One aspect now seems to emerge with ever greater clarity. Kumi Oguro’s images are both exhibition and transposition, but of what and into what? Here and there, in sudden bursts or by little touches, in snatches that are revealed or suggested, we perceive subtle, disparate fragments of an answer which relate not only to cinema…
Noise… Like light radio music whose incidental sound is disturbed by an interfering factor, a crackling or distortion in the background, invincible, unidentifiable, unusable waste (if we are to believe communication theoreticians), the clarity of the message, the beatitude of listening is disrupted. The interference is between our conscious perception and other things: other photographs perhaps or the precise yet ambiguous images conjured up by the never silent night, or our dreams which inhabit it.
Dance… A suspended choreography, gestures waiting to be completed, desires that will never be fulfilled. Gracefully, these advances describe energy, curves, reminders, and appeals (but silence is also a noise, for there is not always an answer). We sense abandonment and relinquishment to utter loss, which only circulate within and for the image—as the world is elsewhere, invisible.
Fiction… An incomplete story, a cinema shot offered up for appraisal, with no before or after, no explanation and above all no words. Aspirations emerge from the shot: gaping holes, openings, indentations, secret passages, interstices, inner thighs and fragments of bodies. But do we ever leave the shot, given that everything is a trompe l’oeil?
Game (thus cruelty)… Characters here are in search of meaning and matter – since they are merely presence and color, luminous shadows with no possession over objects or over themselves. The evanescent characters are devoid of content, naive.
Nature, green and peaceful: leaves, branches, wood and water. Feminine nature – aside from any preconceived idea or stereotype regarding the issue – lightness of spirit.
Sensuality, anxiety and gentleness, that goes without saying. And a question: what becomes of them when we trace their forms, when this involves cutting the curve in a straight line and severing it? What murmur do we still hear from them when time stands still and everything pretends to have found its place?
Then there is the photography, that is to say light above all, with its cloak of shadow, the work of the sun and the air unfailingly renewed, sculpting pieces of our flesh and existences at random. It is simple, inextricable work.
Once again there is noise, which has become almost imperceptible. Yet it is still there, telling us in a low voice that none of these images can be the last, that even beauty is not definitive and that it will not allow anyone to speak its name too clearly. Thus we have to start once again from the beginning, reciting poetry as if it were a rosary, grasping a strand of the mystery of this cycle and the small cosmogony which it describes.
Adapted from the introduction to the book “NOISE”