October 30th – December 6th, 2014

Longhouse Projects is very pleased to present Mitsuko Miwa’s second solo exhibition at the gallery titled Imaginary Number.

For this exhibition, Miwa debuts a new series of paintings and works on paper. The artist worked on each set of two paintings in parallel, creating what she calls “twins.” The pairs will be separated and installed throughout all three rooms of the gallery. The distance between each “twin” intends to effect the fundamental visual recognition of seeing two unique duplicates. The exhibition expounds principles found in Diane Arbus’ Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey from 1967, which shows seven-year old sisters, dressed to match and standing in the same pose, close together. Superficially, they are identical yet the queerness of their individuality is what is so compelling.

Each of Miwa’s twins is painted by hand, on separate canvases or panels, in opposition to a mechanical or digital process. Calling to mind Factum I and Factum II by Robert Rauschenberg, Miwa’s parallelism insists that our attention is drawn to the inflexible individuality of each half. For Miwa, this procedure acts as a negation of painting’s status of supreme originality. She compares this negation to that of imaginary numbers which, when squared, equal negative one.

Miwa sources content from fragments of photographs she stumbles upon, questioning their assumed reality. For example, old photos from someone’s family album she found in a junk market in Berlin, the background of a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor she saw on Facebook, and unintentional shots taken on her camera. The subjects become accidental substance removed from their narrative. Containing text and other markers, she converts collateral, figurative, and phenomenal visual information into decontextualized pairs. The original image is thus neutralized and moved further away from any context, at once real and imaginary.

Mitsuko Miwa born 1958, Nagoya, Japan, lives and works in Nagoya. Her work has been shown extensively in Japan at public institutions such as: The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, Kangawa, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan; Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, Japan; National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, India; Shoto Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan; and Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan. Her work is included in the public collections of Shiseido Art House, Kakegawa, Japan; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Frederick R. Weiseman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA and The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, Hayama, Japan.