A photograph perhaps based on the fairy tale ‘Sleeping Beauty’ by Miwa Yanagi from her series “Fairy Tale.”
Miwa Yanagi is an artist and photographer with a vivid imagination. Hailing from Kyoto, Yanagi’s work has been exhibited around Europe and the U.S. since the early 1990s. While in high school, Yanagi started to explore her artistic aspirations—though her parents had other plans and hoped that their daughter would find a stable job and get married to an equally stable man. Fortunately, while she was getting ready to take the entrance test for the Kyoto University of the Arts, she took a few drawing lessons from Katsushige Nakahashi (Nakahashi would later become well-known for his “Zero” project which culminated with the fiery destruction of a homemade Japanese WWII plane). Her interactions with Nakahashi would prove to be the impetus for her decision to become an artist herself.
After finishing up her studies, Yanagi found a job teaching. In 1993 she would hold her very first, and very successful solo live art installation/show called “Elevator Girls” based on Japan’s famously female department store elevator attendants. Elevator attendants have been a part of Japanese culture since the 1930s and though their numbers have dwindled Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi (a large International department store chain headquartered in Tokyo) still employs an attendant at their main location in Chūō, Tokyo. Yanagi’s subjects in the captivatingly dark series “Fairy Tale” are exclusively comprised of women from a variety of age groups, and all of her photographic series take years to complete. Yanagi’s subject matter of choice has earned the artist a reputation for being a feminist, and she hopes that her photographs might help bring about more progressive societal attitudes as they pertain to gender-bias and equality in the nation. Here’s more from Yanagi on that:
“I’m happy with people thinking of my work as feminist art, but I don’t set out with that intent. If you are making art on the basis of an agenda, it will inevitably lose its power.”
I’ve posted images from Yanagi’s “Fairy Tale” series (which can also be purchased in book form, here) below. Most are NSFW.
Yanagi’s nod to ‘Snow White.’
Yanagi’s twisted riff on the classic German fairy tale, ‘Rapunzel.’
More after the jump…