Kon is one of the leading contemporary photographers in Japan, whose idiosyncratic images combine the familiar shapes of everyday objects with the unfamiliar textures of raw food. The surreal images she thus creates not only break a taboo (of playing with food) but take the viewer into a realm of fantasy. Kon began photography as part of her training in printmaking at Tokyo's Sôkei School of Art, from which she graduated in 1978. By the 1980s she was exhibiting widely in Japan, Europe and the United States, and was awarded the prestigious Kimura Ihee Award in 1991. Concerning the 'texture' of her work, Kon recounts an incident on a train when she saw a properly dressed teenage girl suddenly and quite naturally begin licking the metal lock on the train window. Kon relates this bizarre behaviour to her own desire to capture the uncommon, the peculiar and the disconcerting in her photographs.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 285.
Boots of shrimps
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
gelatin silver photograph
51.1 x 41.3 cm image; 60.7 x 50.8 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r. verso, pencil "Michiko Kon". Dated l.l. verso, pencil "1995".
Not on display
© KON Michiko
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Enigmatic Object, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Apr 1997–22 Jun 1997
Referenced in 5 publications
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 285 (colour illus.).
Jane Somerville, Look, 'The familiar made strange', Sydney, May 2007, 20 (illus.).
Judy Annear, The Enigmatic Object, Sydney, 1997.
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Photography', Sydney, 2003, 293 (illus.).
Public Programmes Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales and The Japan Foundation (Editors), Art speaks Japanese: Japanese language education kit from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2007, colour illus.. card no. 16