[install photo by Jon DeCola]
Born in 1978 in Saitama, Japan, Sakuragi started out as a designer for Comme des Garçons in Tokyo where she worked for eleven years.
In 2011, the event of the great earthquake of East Japan was a turning point in Sakuragi’s life, her perception changed, space and time became a center point for her creative pursuit. Through her own observation of daily life, she aims to capture invisible moments and reveal the passage of time in the form of photography, film and installation art. Sakuragi graduated from The Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2022 (DNSAP), she continues to work and experiment in Paris to express her vision of time unfathomable scale in our life.
Ayako Sakuragi at The Fridge
from February 2nd to February 16th
280 Mott Street, New York, NY
Hundred and eight days
[ text excerpt translated from “Memories of a voyage without images.” Didier Semin, Travioles second edition ]
The so-called avant-gardist, those of the beginning of the 20th century were very concerned with the infinitesimal and the imponderable. Marcel Duchamp wondered about the potential thickness of a cast shadow, Émile Malespine dreamed of weighing writings and kisses while Francis Picabia doubted which was heavier, day or night. It is wrong to consider those questions extravagant.
One who heard one day in the mountains the echo of his own voice wondered for the first time what the speed of sound is, such as modern artists do. But there is nothing infinitesimal and imponderable aside from our own perception. "All our systems of knowledge, all our science and all our philosophy, and most of all, all our certainties, doubts, eternal truths and ignorances are closely adjusted to this average altitude of five feet and seven inches, to which we carry our own head above the surface of the ground”: it is from this very simple observation that Jean Epstein developed his beautiful theory "The Intelligence of a Machine.
The microscope, the telescope, the camera, the tape recorder each in their own way think differently than we do about dimensions, time or the lack of it, and give us a different perspective otherwise inaccessible in the limited spectrum of our own senses. In Jean Epstein's time, the extension of our perception was done with analog tools: what was beyond our reach left a concrete mark through a lens on a chemical emulsion, through a membrane, a furrow on wax or onto a magnetic band. For about thirty years, sounds and images have been digital, the progress induced is immense but we can agree that it is part of knowledge not of sensory perception.
Music lovers consider above all the sound of vinyl records read by a needle and movie enthusiasts the 35mm films. The images of James Webb space telescope fascinate because we believe they are photographs which they are not: they are data re-arranged in images, the colors are arbitrary, the result of a convention between astronomers.
A data spreadsheet of numbers however skilfully manipulated will never make us feel like the scar left by light on a photosensitive plate and it is because she is an artist that Ayako Sakuragi invented small, primitive machines to explore the unnoticed interstices of our daily lives, those which we never observe: cardboard envelopes filled with photographic film, carefully sealed but pierced in their center with a tiny hole that photographers call sténopé (pinhole photography).
They are not propelled into intergalactic space but delivered to the less surprising vagaries of the postal services, thanks to which they travel from one continent to another.
To the question “what does it feel like to be a letter?", Ayako Sakuragi's envelopes give an answer in real images, captured from the sorting table: those of the films carefully developed which contain the luckiest ones returning to the sender. We are facing travel memories devoid of clichés but here and there we clearly recognize something, an object that has traveled around the world without anyone even noticing it. "The immaterial pictorial sensibility" would have said Yves Klein who, one day, when he was traveling from Paris to Nice, fixed on the roof of his car a canvas coated with pigments, for the sole and only purpose of taking the imprint of the wind and the rain...