Artist Feature: Kioto Aoki

Paragon Book Gallery is pleased to share the photography of artist Kioto Aoki. Below is a series of fabric cyanotypes playing with the dual meanings of the word shibori.

Shibori // 絞り, Cyanotype on organic Japanese cotton, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist.

Shibori or 絞り染め is one of the oldest Japanese indigo dye processes dating back to the 8th century, and involves folding or squeezing the fabric to create patterns. The name comes from the Japanese word shiboru, meaning to wring. In Japanese, shibori is also the word used for camera aperture. The cyanotype images are made by grasping the fabric in the manner of the shibori technique, showing the gradual enlargement of the hand aperture.

Shibori // 絞り, Cyanotype on organic Japanese cotton, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist.

Current Reading List:

Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage

About the Artist

Kioto Aoki is a Chicago-based artist whose visual art practice includes photography, film, books and installations to engage the material specificity of the analogue image and image-making process. using the nuances of time, space, form, light and motion, her work explores different modes of perception as it relates to the space between the still and the moving image; as well as the human body within the device of the photographic frame. Curatorial projects include the ongoing Chicago Obihiro Exchange Project, an initiative to cultivate international dialogue between contemporary artists from the Tokachi Region in Japan and Chicago. 

As a musician, Kioto is a taiko artist while also specializing in tsuzumi (Japanese hand drum) and shamisen (traditional three-stringed instrument). Performing professionally on stage since the age of 7, she has been carrying on the lineage of the Tokyo performing arts family –Toyoakimoto. She is active within the experimental and creative music communities in Chicago and the Bay Area. Kioto leads Tsukasa Taiko, the Japanese drumming program at Asian Improv aRts Midwest.

She has exhibited in Chicago, Berlin, Lost Angeles, San Francisco, London and japan. Her work is held in the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Library. Musical projects include Yoko Ono’s SKYLANDING, Tatsu Aoki’s The MIYUMI Project, The Reduction Ensemble, and the Taiko Legacy / Reduction series at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Kioto is also a multi-year Ethnic and Folk Arts Master Apprentice Program Awardee from the Illinois Arts Council.

Learn more about the artist on her website: