IBASHO Gallery

IBASHO is proud to present the exhibition 'Keep an Eye Shut' by the Japanese female artist Hanayo (1970). Since the late 1980s Hanayo has pursued a multifaceted career encompassing the roles of geisha, model, actor, singer, performer, photographer and artist, developing an unconventional approach to expression based on a highly original worldview described by curator Jérôme Sans as “Hana-world.” To mark the publication of Hanayo's latest book 'Keep an Eye Shut' covering thirty years of Hanayo’s photographic output, IBASHO will show works from her book spanning a period from 1990 until 2020.

At junior high school, Hanayo was given an Olympus half-frame camera by her father and from around 1989 she began photographing happenings around her and people she met. At high school she modeled for the novel Tokyo Tongari Kids serialized in culture magazine Takarajima. At nineteen she trained as a geisha and reached an icon status with appearances on Japanese TV and stage, and even abroad where she adorned the cover of British magazine The Face in geisha mode. Throughout these varied explorations she continued photographing and in 1996, when she moved to London, made her official debut as a photographer with the book Hanayome, noted for its vivid, vibrant images. After moving to Berlin in 1999 she met filmmaker Christoph Schlingensief and appeared in several of his theater and performance pieces. In 2010, Hanayo moved back to Tokyo, where she continues to present new work.

Hanayo will be present in the gallery during the Antwerp Art Weekend and will hold several performances.

In IBASHO's bookshop there will be a small exhibition of works by Dutch photographer Ilse Leenders. She will show works from her series 'Shindai' which is a reference to the inspired nature. The word Shindai is derived from the Kojiki, which is an early Japanese chronicle of myths, legends, hymns, genealogies, oral traditions, and semi-historical concerning the origin of the Japanese archipelago and which dates back to a time when people and gods walked the earth together. Empathy, respect, honour, a nurturing nature, ethics, a chivalrous attitude, a strong spirit, all these things were part of nature itself. From the traditional view of nature, experienced in Shintoism, universal entities 'Kami' are invited to settle in the vicinity and thus to ensoul it. Kami can be found in, for example, the water, the forest, a mountain, but also in humans. During an artist-in-residence at Akiyoshidai International Artist Village in Yamaguchi prefecture, Leenders tried to open herself to the awareness of the divine nature and the people around her. By wandering in this environment with appreciation of all precious aspects of life and with attention to everyone, she has tried to experience and to transform this inspiration into images.