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Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

We are delighted to share a few images sent to us by Tomoko Sawada of her new work Facial Signature now on view at MEM in Tokyo.


The face is a signature that with singular particularity signals one’ s identity. Even if a person’s body type approximates someone else’ s whom you know, you will not recognize the person precisely until you glimpse the face. Both nationality and race enhance the precision, but otherwise they do not alter the inherent act of processing perceptions. With intended irony to engender confusion, I re-state that we human beings share 99.99999% of the same genes. All of us despite having different types of so-called “added cultural values—such as nationality, race, religion, and language - are by nature and essence equal to one another.

The genesis of the project Facial Signature grew out of my experience in New York City over a number of years. There were many political problems of different East Asian nations, but I didn’t pay attention to them and made friends with diverse people. At one point while there I had an epiphany, realizing that others were not necessarily seeing me as Japanese. I was told at various times that I looked Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Singaporean, Mongolian, et cetera (and only occasionally Japanese). This made me consider the intuitive process by which people achieve cognition of true or false archetypes. Following this trick logic and to discover what I could (and “could not”) be or become transformed myself 300 times to look like a variety of East Asian women.

Tomoko Sawada
Kobe, Japan

Venue: MEM map
open hours:12:00-20:00 closed on Mondays
tel. +81-(0)3-6459-3205