Tokihiro Sato

1957 Born in Yamagata Prefecture
1981 Sculpture, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music
1983 Sculpture, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music
1993 Artist Residency in France (Mercedes Benz grant)
1994 Artist Residency in England (Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan)
Presently working for Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Fine Arts Department, Photographic Center.

Breathing Light
The World of Tokihiro Sato

In our first encounter with the photographs of Tokihiro Sato, we find a very poetic, lyrical world. Strange particles of light dispersed throughout the landscapes, cityscapes and deserted houses. Objects bathed and rimmed with light like illuminations. Perfectly still and deep, they present a single scene of light that seems to breathe.

How does the artist create these photographs with such strange light? A video made by Sato himself shows that they are exposed for a long time while he moves around with a mirror, stopping to direct the reflected sunlight at the camera lens. Through this monotonous repetition, the particles of light are brought onto the photograph.

This procedure reveals that scenes which at first sight seem to be filled with poetic expression actually possess constructed spaces and structures. The light reflected by the mirror converges on the camera and the tracks of light link the camera with light particles. Looking just like a land surveyor, Sato walks around holding the mirror and measuring the interval between his location and the camera according to the path of the light. This is nothing other than the measurement of space.

Tokihiro Sato graduated from university in sculpture. Indeed, he first used photo- graphy in his art when he had the idea of making light tracks with a pencil torch next to a wire sculpture he had made and photographing it. In short he discovered photography by creating a sculpture through light in space.

Sato's photographs give us a strong feeling of space, depth, and, through the artist's process of applying light, even a sense of time. The aesthetic effect of these sensitively expressed works is certainly pleasant. However, we have to realize that if we simply stop there, we are doing no more than scratching the surface. The photographs of Tokihiro Sato breathe in an altogether deeper space.

Takuo Komatsuzaki
Senior curator, NTT Intercommunication Center

Takuo Komatsuzaki
1953 Born in Japan
1983 Art History, Gakushuin University (Tokyo)
1986 Curator, SOGO Museum of Art
1988 Curator, Project Office, Koriyama City Museum of Art
1989 Curator, The Hiratsuka Museum of Art
1997 Senior Curator, NTT Intercommunication Center (ICC,Tokyo) from May
1993-1996 Lecturer at Tohoku University of Art & Design

HIBINO SPECIAL (The Hiratsuka Museum of Art,1994), TOKYO POP (The Hiratsuka Museum of Art,1996) etc.

1997 Copyright

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"Breathing Shadows"

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Photo-Respiration #106 1991

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For the latest Sato exhibition
(November 2000)
click here