Yuko Nakamura, Tomona Matsukawa My River runs to thee

2021.03.06 - 2021.04.03
left: Tomona Matsukawa Love Yourself 3 2018; right: Yuko Nakamura the sound of coming into being 2021

 Yuka Tsuruno Gallery is pleased to present a two-person show with Yuko Nakamura and Tomona Matsukawa, My River runs to thee from March 6th to April 3rd, 2021. In recent years both have employed research, particularly interviews, to explore realizations and sensations conjured from the experience of being a mother, and given it form in words and film for Nakamura, and as painting for Matsukawa. This exhibition will present works that share a reverberation in the fragile emotions of loneliness and anxiety held by mothers, surpassing the positive connotations that the word “mother” evokes.

 Yuko Nakamura is a film director who has worked extensively with documentaries. In her first book Mothering: Our Voice, Our Care in Modern Society, published in December 2020, she has turned inward to seek the words to relate her experience in motherhood as an ineffable one-ness with the infant, as well as a sense of alienation aroused from the emptiness and solitude felt during her pregnancy, childbirth, and time shared with her newborn child. Interviewing many women, and over laying her own memories and relationship with her mother, she specifically uses the term mothering in lieu of “motherhood.” This refers to “a process to recover a sensation that civilization has atrophied, of feeling for others, of being sensitive to our own and others’ pain, and sharing primordial and non-sequential time alongside those who need aid,”* and creates the possibility for moments where mothering takes place, espousing physical and time sensations that resist modern society, having been estranged since the beginning of life.
In addition, she has recently presented her first AR video work Suspended at Theater Commons ‘21, undertaking the theme of “children with sick parents” and based on her own memories and those of others with similar experiences. From a child’s point of view, the work depicts a suspended sense of life that accompanies co-habitation with the malady or death of a dear one, as well as the overwhelming sensations of light and time in such life. Also referenced in this work, the exhibition title My River runs to thee is excerpted from a poem by Emily Dickenson. In this exhibition, she will show an extract of Suspended as well as her first photograph works that have doubled as inner landscapes while on the search of “mothering.”

 Approaching the inner psyche of humans with realistic, close-up paintings, as part of her practice Tomona Matsukawa similarly conducts interviews with other women of her generation or those who find themselves in a similar situation. She reconstructs memorable phrases or scenes, highlighting them as details that evoke personal stories, and express the ethos and sentiments that appear in the remnants of daily life and lingering gestures. As she grows older herself, the “young women” of her generation also become “wives” and “mothers,” feeling the effects of “ageing”, and her paintings embrace their multiple and complex dispositions, as if to affirm their anxiety, sadness, fatigue, and vulnerability. In her series Love Yourself (2018-) she infuses a contemplation and encouragement for women who live as parents, including herself, to not be defeated by confronted pressure and social prejudices, but to love themselves instead. In addition to Love Yourself 3, which was selected for the cover of Nakamura’s book, she will present new works that are inspired by the aforementioned publication and Nakamura’s video work.

 We will be hosting a talk event with the two artists (livestream, to be archived) on March 27th.


* Nakamura, Yuko. Mothering: Our Voice, Our Care in Modern Society Shueisha, 2020. p.10
Artist Profile

Yuko Nakamura
Born in 1977 in Tokyo. Nakamura graduated from Keio University’s Faculty of Letters as a Philosophy major. Following her work as an editor at a philosophy publisher, she joined TV MAN UNION. Her films include Memories of Origin: Hiroshi Sugimoto; A Room of Her Own: Rei Naito and Light (official selection at 2017 Canadian International Documentary Festival Hot Docs 2017); TV documentary WOWOW Memories of Origin: Contemporary Artist Hiroshi Sugimoto (finalist for International Emmy Award for Arts Programming 2012); NHK Illusory Tokyo Project: Three Potential Dreams of the Capital (winner of Galaxy Honors for programs recommended 2015); NHK Architecture Knows: Postwar 1970 as Seen From Landmarks, and more. Her long-running essay series, Mothering: Our Voice, Our Care in Modern Society in literary magazine Subaru, was published as a book in December 2020.

Tomona Matsukawa
Born in 1987 in Aichi. Matsukawa graduated from Tama Art University in 2011, having specialized in oil painting. Her recent exhibitions include MAM Collection 011: Yokomizo Shizuka + Matsukawa Tomona – The Personal Time We Are Living (Mori Museum Tokyo, 2019), Roppongi Crossing 2016: My Body, Your Voice (Mori Museum, Tokyo), Shell Artist Selection (The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2013) and Artist Meets Kurashiki vol.12 Tomona Matsukawa (Ohara Museum of Art, Okayama, 2016). She was a finalist for the Asian Art Award (2017), and was awarded the Fukazawa Ichiro Memorial Award (2011) and The 25th Holbein Scholarship (2010). Her works are in the collections of the Ohara Museum, the Mori Museum, the Takahashi Collection, as well as the Pigozzi Collection.
Exhibition Outline

Yuko Nakamura, Tomona Matsukawa
My River runs to thee
Date: March 6 – April 3, 2021
* Online Talk Event: March 27, 16:00-17:00
Opening hours: Tue – Sat, 11am – 6pm (*During this exhibition period the gallery will also be open until 6pm on Fridays)
* Closed on Sunday, Monday, and National holidays

Works in Exhibition

Installation View