In the summer of 2014 Tokyo Rumando will hold an exhibition of new photographs. She again incorporates nude self portraits, but these appear to be very peculiar works. The title is “Orpheus”.

Rumando is in a room, standing staring into a mirror. But this mirror is enchanted. It not only reflects reality, but also retrieves lost memories, indeed memories of Rumando herself. It opens up a path into a strange world.

Anxiety and fear, dark desire and pleasure, decadence and madness, and then death and the void are revealed and magnified by this mirror. Rumando lies under a curse of memory and fate, as tendrils of darkness suffocate her body and soul. She disintegrates under the pull of a magnetic field emanating from the alien world in the enchanted mirror.

One of the Greek Gods, the poet-musician Orpheus is known for his journey to the underworld to recover his dead wife Eurydice. He broke the instruction never to look back, and in turning to look at the face of Eurydice, he saw the face of death, the face of the underworld itself and lost his beloved wife forever.

There is one thing that we may learn from this God and artist. The artist must face the deep abyss, even at the price of great loss. Even were it to result in mortal danger, the artist must not suppress the desire to “look”.

In this work Rumando confronts the darkness of memory. She says that this work is like a ritual for the purification and forgetting of memory. And yet, she seems reluctant to let these memories go.

Thus, if she can accept back into her life those dark memories, and live together with them as part of her existence, then these nude self-portraits might represent a true purification rite.

ーSoma Toshiki (Art critic)

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