Born with a rare physical handicap, Japanese artist Mari Katayama who shows her work both at Pavillon Central and Arsenale at Venice Biennale 2019, chose to have both her legs amputated at the age of nine. Since then she has transcended her condition by the works she creates, using her own body as a magnificent living sculpture.
In her photographic autoportraits, Mari Katayama is exploring the numerous challenges ascertaining to her condition and identity, trying to recover her memories of isolation she felt whilst growing-up. Mari Katayama invites us to her own reality, trying to prompt us to consider the forces shaping ideals of physical beauty. The photography series of Mari Katayama offer a reflection on the physical challenges and psychological fears she faces every day. In her works, the viewer is allowing to emotionally connect to her world in which the image of a fragmented body and the phenomenon of the phantom limb is deeply sensed.
Remarkably, Mari Katayama never set out to be an artist. Her photography was a way to a have a conversation with a beholder and the stuffed objects-inlaid with lace, seashells, hair and crystals were made purely for her own amusement. Today her work has attracted many important collectors and curators (Simon Baker of Maison Européenne de la Photographie in particular) in Europe and America.
Paris Photo 2019
November 7–10, 2019
Grand Palais Paris