Miwa Yanagi
Past Artist In Residence
1998

Miwa Yanagi Japanese photographer | 18th Street Arts Center

The Japanese photographer, Miwa Yanagi, is known for her renowned work, the Elevator Girl House series, which is a composition of dream experiences and urban encounters in a capitalist consumer setting. The creation of her fictions environments mirror the absence of individuality of Japanese women, as these Elevator Girls are entrapped in spaces such as elevators, subway stations and mega department stores.  Yanagi says, “Wandering about these frozen cities, one cannot connect with the women in elevators and at information counters. They are ephemeral, like the light on the subway platform, which recedes the moment one approaches it. They exist, but they do not, in a dream-like, fictitious world.” Utilizing photographs and digital collages, Miwa blends static reality with the queerness of artificiality of the contemporary society. The confrontation to such an illusionistic yet familiar space has provoked one’s attention to the bizarre economic structure of any capitalist society. In 1998, Yanagi had the opportunity to join 18th Street for her first residency program, where she perfected her Elevator Girl House series and debut her exhibit in Los Angeles.

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