Kanako Sasaki was born in Sendai, Japan. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Ithaca College in New York in 2001, and in 2004 received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She also studied for two years at the Royal College of Art in London.
Since 2001 Sasaki has been exhibiting her work both in her native Japan and abroad and has held an increasing number of solo exhibitions where she shows installations mingling photography and video, in Budapest, Tokyo, New York, amongst others. Her work is focused on older women, in homage to her grandmother who died quite recently. By meeting such people all over the world, she is searching for a universal memory of a bygone time, in order not to lose her own memory. For her, her work is a “celebration of the capacity for survival of universal emotions”.
In 2006 she was selected as one of PDN’s #30 Emerging Photographers to Watch, and in 2008 she won a Shiseido Art Egg Award which is given by the cosmetics giant each year to three up-and-coming artists from various artistic fields.
The above photo comes from Sasaki’s “Ukiyo 1 – The World of Groping” series of portraits which she has been working on since 2006.
Sasaki is currently a resident artist at CENTQUATRE as part of a Paris-Tokyo artist cultural exchange program supported by Tokyo Wonder Site Institute of Contemporary Arts and International Cultural Exchange and the City of Paris. During her residency, Sasaki will work with elderly men and women from the district and Japanese who have lived in Paris for a long time, with the objective of revisiting their memories within the installation. In order to do this, she plans to visit these people’s flats, take photographs and conduct interviews, probing their memory and their connection with private and public space.