AboutThe Agency is pleased to present a solo exhibition of paintings by the Japanese artist Hideko Inoue, who lives between Osaka and Glasgow.
Hideko Inoue?s paintings are conceptually derived from amateur photographic sources, largely family snaps which are both Japanese and European in origin. She paints them in oils, literally and dispassionate. Staying true to her original source results in odd lighting in her work, as the photographs are often mistakenly taken against the sun therefore leaving the faces in the dark. These ideosyncracies add an interesting dimension to her works, which also takes them beyond realism. Inoue?s approach reflects her position of being both within and without European and Japanese society. She approaches her motives from an almost voyeuristic point of view, yet exposes a level of intimacy with her subjects a tourist would never reach. Often in reproducing snapshots of themepark landscapes her work will feature a naturalistic reproduction of scenes of overwhelming beauty coupled with the insertion of smiling and chattering groups of Japanese tourists. In Waterfall II where at the bottom of a large natural waterfall, a small group of people is nestled admiring the view, so that we as viewers of the work become the voyeurs observing others observing nature. This double distancing procedure creates a startling result. Is Inoue representing nature or observing social behaviour? When reproducing European family snaps, which often seem to be from another era, a similar treatment of motives is applied. Taxi, features a group of young people posing on and in front of a black cab in Fifties clothing. The scene achieves the same level of curiosity as the Japanese tourist snaps as we are equally removed from ordinary life in the Fifties as we are from what tourists may choose to view as representative of our environment. Rather than remaining an examination of behaviourisms, the works? timelessness and seeming randomness which is painted with technically astounding detail elevates them to an iconic status. On the other hand the banality of images chosen render them an astute representation of the mundane. Inoue surprises by recognizing that at the level of collective memory there is no gap between different cultural worlds but just degrees of separation.