EXHIBITION: Tomoko Sawada at Rose Gallery, Santa Monica


“Facial Signatures” by Tomoko Sawada

@ Rose Gallery, Santa Monica
20 February – 9 April 2016

Exhibition view
Exhibition view – courtesy Rose Gallery


As one of the leading contemporary artists in conceptual photography, Tomoko Sawada’s work explores cultural identification and gendered societal norms through self-created portraiture.

While sponsored as an artist in residency by the state of New York from 2010 to 2013, Sawada began considering the “intuitive process by which people achieve cognition of true or false archetypes”. Living in one of the world’s most ethnically diverse urban environments, Sawada was often told she looked Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese or a number of other East Asian ethnicities. Inspired by this experience in New York City, Facial Signature addresses issues of identity, culture and universality.

Three hundred times (!!) Japanese artist Tomoko Sawada not only had to change her wig and hair color, but she had to change three hundred times a tiny little detail to her face, like: the color of the lipstick, the eye brows -shape and color-, the eyelashes -shape and length-, of course the make up -foundation and color of the cheeks-. As a result of such amazing process, not even one portrait resembles to the other!

Of course behind Tomoko Sawada’s performance, those 300 faces staring at you, act like a boomerang toward your own identity. And you ended up asking to yourself what if I were blond, or red or long hair or whatever shape, would my life be different? Would I be different as a person? Very smart indeed.

A must be seen

courtesy Rose Gallery
courtesy Rose Gallery