In partnership with Vacheron Constantin

Hikari: Contemporary Photography from Japan

In this exhibition we wanted to explore the notion of ‘Hikari’ (the Japanese word for light) in contemporary photography, and in particular the idea that light can be used as both a tool of illumination and as a cloak - either revealing something we might not normally see, or conversely, covering something up. Within the photographs on display lie deceptions, interventions and the constructions of a culture for whom the concept of light is both a science and a metaphor.

In the photographs of Yuji Obata, light reveals a moment - ephemeral, melting, passing and gone. His work refers to the history of photography, and the aesthetics and landscape of Japan. For Tokihiro Sato light is a deed, an action and an intervention. The photographer himself enters the frame as a presence shown only by light. In Shiho Kito’s photographs we see light as navigation, as embellishment and as a guide through the city - metaphoric and historical, public and private. Kimiko Yoshida’s self portraits are bathed in a blinding light, yet they conceal a truth; the bright studio light disguises the sitter whilst her own identity disappears into the guise of another. Finally, Ken Kitano’s work explores a more tactile relationship between the photographer and light, which he uses to ‘draw’ on the surface of the photographic paper, layering multiple exposures to create his composite portraits.
Whilst Japan is the country of origin for each of the photographers in this exhibition, it is by no means an attempt at a survey of contemporary Japanese photography. Instead, we’ve attempted, very simply, to do two things. First, to try and see if new and interesting readings of the photographs can emerge when seen in the context of a theme (in this case, ‘Hikari’), and secondly, to investigate the ways in which this theme might be unique to the country in question.
- Nathaniel Gaskell & Shiho Kito


Supported by



Exhibition Schedule

New Delhi

10 August - 21 August 2021

Gallery Art.Motif
F 213 C, Lado Sarai
New Delhi, 110 030 



20 September - 29 September 2021

Institute of Contemporary Indian Art
22/26, K. Dubhash Marg
Mumbai, 400 023 



07 January - 16 January 2022

The Seagull Foundation for the Arts
36C S.P. Mukherjee Road
Kolkata, 700 025



06 February - 14 February 2022

National Institute of Design
Ahmedabad, 380 007



19 April - 10 May 2022

The Gallery at Sua House
26/1 Kasturba Cross Road
Bangalore, 560 001