IBASHO presents new work by Japanese photographer Mika Horie

IBASHO is delighted to present Mika Horie’s work in her first solo exhibition at IBASHO: ‘Trees, Water and Light’ and her newest book with the same title, co-published by the(M) éditions & IBASHO.

Horie is a Japanese photographic artist who focuses on creating cyanotypes on paper made by herself. Trees, water and light are the main elements that Horie uses to create her artworks.

Horie, who grew up in Kyoto, studied photography and design at Kyoto University of Art and Design, and fine art with a focus on European conceptual art at Kingston University London. 

Since 2013 she has lived in Yamanaka Onsen, Kaga, Ishikawa prefecture, in a Meiji-era farmhouse and studio in the mountains. 

After the snow melts in spring, Horie drives up narrow winding roads into the mountains to fill her enormous Land Rover with gampi branches—the raw material to make traditional paper. Horie processes the gampi fibers fully by hand into delicate-looking but sturdy paper, which is the material on which she prints cyanotype images of the landscapes, foliage, nearly-forgotten villages ​ and objects in or around her home. 

Horie’s photographic process is nearly as natural and time-consuming as her paper making. After having photographed her natural surroundings, Horie treats her paper with ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide, places the negatives directly on top of the paper and allows the sun to expose them to shades of cyan and deep indigo. She then washes the paper with spring water to fixate the image and lets the art work dry in the wind.

Horie’s prints are all different, unique, even when they show the same image, because of the handmade paper and the ever-changing sunlight. Each print has a different texture, some blurry parts and a large variety of tones of blue.

Her work is infused with wabi sabi. Wabi sabi is the Japanese aesthetic concept that is generally described as ‘a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. A beauty of things modest and humble. A beauty of things unconventional.’

“Wabi sabi is simply the feeling of my daily life of creating. Each day I spend a significant amount of time catching its essence of tranquility, harmony, beauty and imperfection through shooting photos, making paper and cyanotype. I embrace the condition of gampi tree fiber, spring water and sunlight changing all the time. One day I realised that being surrounded by abundant nature has changed my mentality. I am getting to understand my imperfections.” ​
Mika Horie

The exhibition ‘Trees, Water and Light’ contains works spanning Horie’s whole career as a photographic artist from 2014 until her newest unseen works.

The exhibition will run from 29 January until 13 March 2022.



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