Zen Foto Gallery is pleased to announce “S TRIP”, an exhibition of video installations by Tokyo Rumando from July 1 to 31.

“This exhibition ‘S TRIP’ features video works from ‘The Story of S’, my solo exhibition at Museum Folkwang, Germany in 2020 as a part of their exhibition series ‘6 ½ Weeks’. I have reedited these video works and will present them with wall typography.

Since the very beginning of my career I have been presenting my works as self-portraits, but in recent years I have also been blessed by opportunities to present my performance videos. This time, I am very thankful for the opportunity to screen them in Japan as well.

‘S TRIP’ consists of several trips of video performances I have taken.

I always question myself why I perform. I have always been searching for the answer.

It all started as a part-time job at a strip theater when I was in my twenties, studying fashion for a few years as a student. Was Japan still barely booming in the mid-2000s? Many strip theaters and cabarets still existed in the country. That was my stage. Now many of these places have disappeared so they have become very rare. Big, round stages with a live band and huge lighting devices, or small theaters that look like a shack—not only strippers, but comedians, drag queens, jugglers, dwarfs, and dancers also performed in this kind of entertainment show.

Back then, I was touring theaters all over Japan (I was always close to failing my classes, by the way) and did shows in the air, hanging upside down, or teaming with someone. For some reasons my shows were more acrobatic rather than erotic. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I could do with my own body, what kind of performance show I could make, and what to do with the composition of the upcoming show. I created my original shows by inventing various characters, wearing many different costumes, writing stories, and selecting music. The act of performing on my own for the viewers has become a daily routine for me, and it was one of the most natural things for me to do.

Eventually, instead of a show, I have reconstructed a new story based on my experience and memories with photography as a medium. In recent years, I have become more and more eager to record my performances on video. I have moved a few times, but I always built a set in my small apartment and recorded videos. Sometimes I recorded my videos outside. I used my lips to tell my stories, and my feet to perform dramas for my trips. In order to express the state of the people in the dressing room, S becomes various characters called “A to Z”. I made peepholes for people to watch my performances because I wanted to see their point of view. In order to understand the relationship between performance and shutter, I made stop motion videos by connecting the photos.

Days when I packed a lot of costumes in my suitcase, and moved from one theater to another in Japan, clicking my high heels.

There will be no answer yet. However, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the fact that the act of performance has been a great support for my life and my soul, and how there are people who watch my performance.

The journey of S in me continues.”

——Tokyo Rumando

Video installations include:

“High-heels Explore” (since 2014-)
“Disco Red Dress” (2017); ”A to Z” (2018)
“Narrating LIPS” (2018)
“Peepholes in Paris” (2018), etc.

Artist Profile

Tokyo Rumando

Tokyo Rumando was born in 1980 in Tokyo. Self-taught, she began shooting photographs in 2005 and mainly focuses on self-portraits. Active in and out of Japan, her series “Orphée” was a part of the group exhibition “Performing for the Camera” at Tate Modern (London) in 2016, and her solo exhibition “The Story of S” was held at Museum Folkwang (Essen, Germany) in 2020. Her solo exhibitions include, ”I’m only happy when I’m naked” (Ibasho Gallery, Antwerp, 2018; Taka Ishii Gallery Photography Paris, 2016); “S” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2018); “Orphée” (Tokyo Light Room, Place M, Zen Foto Gallery, Tokyo, 2014); “REST 3000~ STAY 5000~” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2012); “Hotel Life” (Place M, Tokyo, 2012). Her photobooks include S (2018); selfpolaroids (2017), Orphée (2014), and Rest 3000~ Stay 5000~ (2012), all published by Zen Foto Gallery. In July 2021, Tokyo Rumando will participate in the group exhibition “Tokyo: Art & Photography” at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Publications & Prints


Tokyo Rumando