Tomoko Sawada - ULTIMATE Evening & Photographs Day Sales London Thursday, May 17, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    From the artist

  • Exhibited

    The Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2017, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo, 10 - 26 February 2017, other prints
    Snacks, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 16 July - 16 October 2016, other prints
    Tomoka Sawada, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, 5 November 2010 - 30 January 2011, other prints
    Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan, International Center for Photography, New York, 16 May - 7 September 2008, other prints

  • Literature

    T. Sawada, School Days, Kyoto: Seigensha Art Publishing, 2006, n.p.
    C. Phillips & N. Fuku, Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan, New York: International Center of Photography, 2008, pp. 180-183

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘All the materials I have used in my works are my own self-portraits and when I started considering how and why this style and theme have come out as my concept, I set out to create this series School Days…Looking back to my school days, as a teenager, it was a vital thing how much I could express my own personality in a group photo among the girls who were wearing the same uniforms with similar hairstyles.’

    Tomoko Sawada

    In School Days, 2004, Tomoko Sawada uses images of herself to reference the biannual class photographs that she endured throughout her six years at an all-girls junior high and high school in her hometown in Kobe, Japan. She recalls that the first class photo would be taken in the spring, the start of the new school year in Japan, and the second one would be taken in early summer to correspond with the change in uniform. As seen in the present images, the spring version included sakura [cherry blossom], a symbol of the season in Japan, and the summer version showed green foliage. To create the 10 variations in the series (School Days A – J), Sawada hired different sets of uniforms and other clothing to play 400 students and 10 teachers in total. The painstaking and laborious image-making process involved photographing herself 410 times – each time with subtle physical, sartorial or gestural distinctions – and the background images at her alma mater then digitally stitching them together.

    The School Days diptych was originally conceived for the 2008 exhibition Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan at the International Center of Photography, New York. Sawada selected these two images, School Days A & E – showing spring and summer – to represent her series and enlarged them to be exhibited at the ICP. Following the show, the diptych was released in an edition of 3 + 2 AP. In the oversized photographs offered here, the individual character traits as portrayed by Sawada emerge as each figure engages in a quiet struggle to manifest her unique identity against the group.

    Sawada is a recipient of various awards, including ICP’s Infinity Award (2004) and Japan’s prestigious Kimura Ihei Award (2004). Her work has been exhibited internationally and resides in numerous institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; International Center for Photography, New York; and Brooklyn Museum. Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles hold small-format School Days prints from the edition of 15 in their respective collections. This is the first time that the School Days diptych is appearing at auction.



School Days

Chromogenic diptych, each flush-mouted.
Each image: 108 x 150 cm (42 1/2 x 59 in.)
Each frame: 116.5 x 158.5 cm (45 7/8 x 62 3/8 in.)

Each signed, numbered AP 2/2 in ink, printed title and date on an artist label affixed to the reverse of the frame. Signed in ink, printed title, date and number AP2 on a Certificate of Authenticity accompanying the work.

Each print is AP2 from the sold-out edition of 3 + 2 AP. Each image is sold out in all sizes and editions.

£25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for £25,000

Contact Specialist
Genevieve Janvrin
Co-Head of Photographs, Europe
+33 1 53 71 77 87

Yuka Yamaji
Co-Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7318 4098

ULTIMATE Evening & Photographs Day Sales

London Auction 18 May 2018