Uehara Sayaka “Green Rooms”

Uehara Sayaka, Old Woman Selling Flowers, 2024
Set of 4 archival pigment prints and printed text on a newsprint paper
Image size 34 x 51cm each, sheet size 42 x 59.4cm each, and 41.4 x 29.4 cm

Uehara Sayaka
Green Rooms

Saturday, April 13 – Saturday, June 1, 2024
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 13, 16:00-19:00

Tuesday-Saturday 12:00-19:00
Closed on 28 April – 6 May, Mon, Sun, National Holidays

Press Release

Download Press release (日本語)
Download Press release (English)

Uehara Sayaka’s practice involves creating works in which she dispassionately photographs visual details mixing the variety of cultures and scenery found in her native Okinawa, and presents them in cross section so that history and time manifest in multiple layers.

In the summer of 2023, Uehara spent a month in Taiwan and took photographs in a variety of locations. Her Green Rooms series is based on the places she visited in Taiwan and the events she encountered during her stay. It comprises photographs of scenes of buildings and places that remain in the aftermath of political change, and also of items that she has brought back from those places, accompanied by text displayed alongside the photographs.

The islands of Taiwan, originally inhabited by indigenous people, have had a complicated history since the seventeenth century, as they were successively ruled by various powers including the Netherlands, Spain, China (Ming and Qing dynasties), and Japan. The “green” of the Green Rooms exhibition title comes from a song that has been sung for many years in Taiwan and from the scenery found deep in its mountains.

In addition to Haunted Gardens from the Green Rooms series, which was awarded the Encouragement Prize and the Ohara Museum of Art Prize at the VOCA (The Vision of Contemporary Art) 2024 exhibition, a new work, Old Woman Selling Flowers, will be on display for the first time.

Uehara Sayaka, Haunted Gardens, 2023
Set of 6 archival pigment prints and printed text on a newsprint paper
Image size 34 x 51cm each, sheet size 42 x 59.4cm each, and 41.4 x 29.4 cm

Haunted Gardens is series of a photographs taken at Pine Garden in Hualien, Taiwan, where pine woods surround a building erected during the Japanese colonial period. Many of the Ryukyu pines in Okinawa were destroyed in the war, but the trees in this garden have kept their enormous branches. The accompanying text contrasts the documentary photographs displayed in Pine Garden with her impression of what is missing, encouraging visitors to imagine days gone by and people who used to be there.

Old Woman Selling Flowers is a work originating in an encounter with an abandoned storage facility that had been constructed in a cave in the mountains of Hualien. The cave was used by the Japanese army during the war, but it is now closed up tight and hidden behind lush vegetation, looking as if it is fading away. Its history includes being used as a “comfort station” for the Japanese military, a fact that reminded the artist of buying white roses on the streets of Taipei. Through her photographs, she brings the two together.

Uehara painstakingly treads the path to these places, gazing at them as if to find traces of times past. Furthermore, as a practice for immersing herself in times of the past and imagining them, she brings items back to her personal space and photographs the moment when she lays her hands upon them. This also overlaps with the flow of time in Okinawa, where she was born and raised, leading her to contemplate the relationships between the islands that continue to this day and the histories of these islands.

This exhibition will also feature some of the photographs taken in Okinawa between 2016 and 2022 for Sleeping Trees and The Others (2016 and 2021).

Uehara Sayaka, Sleeping Trees, 2019, archival pigment print
Image size 18 x 27cm, sheet size 29.7 x 42cm

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