Naohiro Ninomiya


'Perfectly Imperfect': Ninomiya Naohiro (1969)


Ninomiya Naohiro moved from Japan to France in 1988, but maintains a very close relationship with his native country, its culture and philosophies. 

Ninomiya’s work ‘Taki’ is influenced by a 13th century Japanese painting entitled “Painting of Nachi waterfall” which, for centuries, was believed to incarnate divinity. ‘The first time I saw this painting, I saw nothing more than an elegant brushstroke on a dark background. Only after did I discover all the details and depth it contained.’ This first impression has been enshrined in Ninomiya’s images of waterfalls. With ‘Taki’ he pays tribute to these ‘places of mystery where I feel an indescribable, inhuman presence that both frightens and intrigues me’. Flowing water also represents the constant change and passage of time in nature and life.

Water is also the habitat of the carps that are the subject of Ninomiya’s series ‘Nokomi’, which means ‘carp going upstream to lay eggs in Spring’. Ninomiya used to live next to a little stream, where he used to hear the sound of the carp splashing in the water. For Ninomiya this was a sign of strength. When he returned to his ancestral house a few years ago, he again heard the sound of the carp after a long absence: ‘I felt the kind of strength andfriendship between me and them, the carp, because the carp keeps going upstream, like me. I feel the same as artist. No matter what has happened, I must continue. It is the same. So, I decided to make something with carp and I began searching for the most appropriate material for this work. My native region Gifu, it’s famous for the handmade paper and the water used to make this paper, it comes from the same source of the stream passing by my house. So finally I decided to let this carp swim in the same water where it comes from.’ 

Ninomiya decided to fixate the nokomi on handmade washi paper. The images of the carps have irregular edges that signify the constant movement in the water and in the universe.