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Ai Iwane Solo Exhibition “ARMS”




Friday, May 17th, 2019  18:00-20:00



2-7-5-5F, Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031

TEL +81 3 5843 9128


Friday, May 17th, 2019 - Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Tuesdays through Fridays, 13:00-20:00

Saturdays, 12:00-19:00

(closed on Sundays, Mondays, and National Holidays)

*Open for shortened hours on May 25 (Sat) and  June 1 (Sat) [12:00-17:00]

from the series “ARMS” | ©︎ Ai Iwane, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY

from the series “ARMS” | ©︎ Ai Iwane, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY


Ishiuchi Miyako × Ai Iwane

Date:         Friday, June 7th, 2019 19:30-20:45 (doors: 19:15-)


Speakers:   Ishiuchi Miyako (photographer) × Ai Iwane (photographer)

Capacity:     40 people (25 seats available based on a first come first served basis)

Admission:  ¥1000 (including one drink)

                         *Talk will be held only in Japanese.

Number of reservations reached the capacity.

(Admission will be limited to those with reservation)​

■Guest Speaker Profile


Ishiuchi Miyako was born in Kiryu, Gunma. Ishiuchi received The 4th Kimura Ihei Award with her monograph Apartment in 1979, and was selected as the representing artist for the 51st Venice Biennale Japan Pavilion in 2005 with the series Mother’s, in which she photographed her late mother’s belongings. She received the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2013, and The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2014. Ishiuchi’s retrospective exhibitions have been presented at major art museums across the globe, including Grain and Image (Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan, 2017-2018), Postwar Shadows (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2015), and many others.

KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY is pleased to present Ai Iwane’s solo exhibition ARMS from Friday, May 17th through Saturday, June 15th,  2019.

Iwane found a deep historical connection in between two locations afar in Hawaii and Fukushima through the culture of “Bon Dance,” and fruitified a massive body of work over her twelve years of field work into her first monograph KIPUKA. This exhibition showcases her new series, ARMS, that newly derived from here.

“Early summer” is probably the season that many would imagine when asked when one could see the fresh green leaves, however, for Iwane, it was the raining season in winter that she had the vivid experience of being embraced with them in Hawaii.

After encountering the fully-spread fluorescent green in Hawaii, Iwane returned back to Tokyo, where she surprisingly found that the same colors could be found in the trees inside the city. As she paid further attention, she noticed those moments she finds the fresh green are similar to finding them also connected with the moment she finds the tombs of the first generations of Japanese immigrants in the wild nature of Hawaii, where she describes that “as though those faceless people strongly stretch out their arms, the both are stretching out to me.”

The freshly newborn lives, and the quiet remains of the lives that existed. Or, the massive trees in Hawaii that loudly and vividly celebrate their lives, and the trees in Tokyo surviving in the artificial surroundings. Like her series KIPUKA where she combined the grandeur borderless narrative of the immigrants into one story, Iwane finds cores of elements with her unique sensitivity even though factors may first appear the opposite transcending time and space, and weaves them together as one story in her photography.

It would be our profound pleasure to welcome you at our space in front of the Aoyama cemetery where new leaves will arise and the raining season would be coming, and showcasing Iwane’s ARMS series for its very first time as a solo exhibition.


Artist Statement


—Faceless People—

It was in the afternoon of the raining season at the South Point, Hawaii Island. Those grasses shining in fluorescent green had awaken from their sleep under ground by the sunlight at the most Southern point of the United States, and were freely and dynamically swaying in the trade winds making a rumbling sound. As I walked through the ocean of the fluorescent green filling the horizon in which I was seeing for my first time in life, it felt as though the color was infusing into my body. In Hawaii, the place of perpetual summer, the season for the fresh greens were winter.

Later in spring, I noticed the presence of that same green color from South Point in Tokyo. It was my eyes that were missing those colors; they were appearing there on the tips of the boulevard trees. With my expanded perspective, I continued my journey looking for those greens. The day after the rain, in the season of those fresh greens, under the light with the sun above us, those newly born arms were stretching out to me.


When I encountered those moments the fresh greens were stretching out to me, I noticed I had seen them before.

Those moments I walk in the remains of a sugar cane farm and notice “it’s here, I’ve found”—and notice the first tomb of a cemetery.

I’d descend from the bridge of a highway, and proceed the trackless shrubs, and notice a somewhat indescribable presence. I’d shift my perspective down to the slight resonance of a spider thread that I had just broken, and there under the grass, a tomb is hidden. Next to the water storage tank; in the abandoned fields; in the flow of lava—they’d appear neatly sitting. The mossy tombs with illiterate engraved letters find me with a human silhouette.


The freshly newborn lives, and the quiet remains of the lives that existed. The moment I see these seemingly contrasting two objects, those faceless people both strongly stretch their arms towards me.


—Ai Iwane

from the series “ARMS” | ©︎ Ai Iwane, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY

from the series “ARMS” | ©︎ Ai Iwane, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY

Artist Profile

Ai Iwane was born in Tokyo.

She relocated to the United States and enrolled in Petrolia High School in 1991. She led an off-grid and self-sufficient life while studying. In 1996, she became an independent photographer after working as an assistant back in Japan. Since 2006, Iwane has focused on the Japanese community’s culture in Hawaii and she settled her second base in Miharu, Fukushima in 2013. Since then, she has continuously examined the relevance between Hawaii and Fukushima from the aspect of immigration and put her research into her works. Her first monograph KIPUKA was published by Seigensha Art Publishing in 2018. Her solo exhibitions were presented simultaneously in the same year: KIPUKA (Nikon Salon Osaka, Nikon Salon Ginza, Japan), FUKUSHIMA ONDO (KANAZAN GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan), and KIPUKA—Island in My Mind (KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY, Tokyo, Japan). Iwane was awarded The 44th Kimura Ihei Photography Award (2019).

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