It was close to melting point, and one could see the lake if one passed through.

Silence had spread out there; no waves, no sound.

I thought I might fall in by accident if I stared too long; I thought the glacier might devour me. I got scared and began to look around for what was missing. Where could I find the centre? Where will I find this circle, where can I dig up this gold?

And after a while I realised:
It can only be found on the surface.
Yes, I searched for the sun within a glacier.

—Rinko Kawauchi, to accompany her series “Search for the Sun,” 2015


Rinko Kawauchi has found acclaim worldwide for her nuanced use of color and the unerring mastery of her compositions. Furthermore, her attention to small gestures and coincidental details enables her to cast a gaze of enchantment upon her daily surroundings that is always fresh and new. With her camera, she captures elementary and casual moments, all with the same passionate concentration.

Kunst Haus Wien is pleased to present an exhibition focused solely on the impressive oeuvre of this talented Japanese artist. The exhibition is the first comprehensive mid-career retrospective of the photographer in Europe. Besides including such powerful series as ” Illuminance” and ”Ametsuchi,” the exhibition will also showcase a body of work specially made for the exhibition, “Search for the Sun.” To create this series, the artist undertook a voyage to Austria in December 2014, traveling to a gold smelting plant, the glaciers of the Dachstein Mountain and many other locations across the country. In this exhibition, she shares the results for the first time.

In the words of the exhibition’s curator Verena Kaspar-Eisert:

The mindful awareness of what is special in simple things—which Rinko Kawauchi dedicates herself to in her photographs—must be contemplated on the background of the aesthetic concept of wabi-sabi. This philosophy postulates reduction, modesty and a symbiotic relationship with nature and is applied to many areas of life, whether architecture, dance, tea ceremonies or haiku poetry. Wabi-sabi allows room for “mistakes.” Applied to photography, the goal is not the “perfect photograph;” rather, expressivity and depth make a picture meaningful—and therein lies its beauty.

—LensCulture


Editors’ Note: This exhibition ran at the Kunst Haus Wien in Vienna, Austria in the summer of 2015.