Kumi Oguro is born in Japan in 1972. Her study of photography started in London in 1996, followed by further development at Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp until 2003.


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Her body of work is on the one hand characterised by the “filmic” in photography, on the other hand by images from her dreams just before waking up. Oguro’s surreal images often feel like ‘frozen moments’ or film stills, with which she invites the viewers to fantasise about how the story ends.  Oguro has been intrigued by the images of our dreams just before awakening: it is difficult to find the logic there, there is nothing to indicate time, the space is indeterminate. In her work, she tries to create an atmosphere that is quite close to those dream images. The faces of the models are often hidden. It is not clear whether we see a frozen moment of what was going on (whatever it is) or rather if they are waiting to be awakened from a long, long sleep. It is important for Oguro to keep this ambiguity. The anonymous women are balancing on a thin line between the childlike and the sensual, the fragile and the destructive, the tragic and the playful. In the spring of 2020, Oguro had to cancel a couple of planned photo sessions because of the Corona-virus and subsequent lockdown in Belgium. After the initial shock and panic, she started wondering what she could do for the time being. She then remembered that someone had offered her an opportunity to photograph in an empty house. There she created several images without using models: still lives. Something she would not easily consider trying. Because of this challenging experience, Oguro started paying more attention to spaces themselves, what had often tended to be merely the background. Meanwhile, she carefully started photographing models again, taking enough physical distance from them. In this way her eyes perceive the person and the surrounding area on the same level.

“From now on, with or without models, “space” will always play an important roll in my images.” – KumiOguro