interview about “Pain” from Magazine

Glamcult Magazine 2018
Hello Tokyo! As it is the theme of this issue, “Pain”, how would you define it? And would you say pain is a feeling you canalize/evoke somehow through your work? And how?

A: I see pain as a kind of experience. Instead of describing pain in terms of greatness, I divide them into layers. My hope is for pain to disappear, so I look into a specific layer of pain and by its information subjectively and objectively, then make a plan and execute it. That is how I create. My works are all about how to control pain.

2. Would you say that pain, in whatever form has been, has somehow mediated some of your professional achievements? How about the personal ones?

A: Yes, I would say that by putting out my layers of pain with my works I get to question myself and eventually accept myself, which makes me stronger and calmer as a person.

3. What are the main narratives you embrace through your work? And what would you say are the components of Tokyo Rumando’s aesthetic?

A: I am not sure about that. I have the slogan "I'm only happy when I'm naked' for myself and it is like a prayer I do everyday.

4. When and how is it born the fascination for self-portraits in different love hotels?

A: From the 1970s to late 1990s, countless number of "love hotels" were built for people to have sex. I think it could be considered as an unique culture of Japan. My "Rest 3000~ Stay 5000~" series focused on photographing these love hotels. There are all sorts of different settings in the love hotels. Some have beds that can rotate; some are completely covered with mirrors, some have disco lights; some for BDSM; some are mixed with western and eastern styles with strange decorating objects or funny devices - people have sex in these amusement park-like places filled with interesting ideas. Not only common couples but people in affairs, call girls, travelers, male couples, female couples, elderlies or people who would like to do gang bang would go to these places. I wanted to play with these different roles openly with desire with this unique Japanese background. Many love hotels are dilapidated nowadays and are being taken down or renovated, so most of them do not look the same anymore.

5. Do you work sometimes in collaboration? Or is the creative process done mostly by you?

A: Sometimes I do. I've done collaborations with other photographers, as well as doing a performance for a French shoemaker wearing the shoes they made. There is nothing fixed for these collaborations - we shoot freely and playfully.

6. What’s behind the darkness and melancholy that characterize your imagery? And where do we find light?

A: My work may seem very personal as I am mostly the only individual that is being photographed, but the darkness and melancholy in my imagery can be applied to everyone, including myself. For "Rest 3000~ Stay 5000~", the works also represented male's subjective way of seeing. For "Orphee", the viewers are the ones who would need to face the darkness. It suggests people to think about how to look back into their past. I would be very happy if my work can help you to think about your own self.

7. In our current society where love and pain are emotions highly exploited, would you consider one or the other as either positive or negative? How so?

A: Love and pain are very much interconnected, in my opinion. Loving someone comes with physical and mental pain. If one is only being loved, it would feel too simple and boring, but if one feels too much pain, one will lose themselves. I think we need to train ourselves for more self-control or learn to transform pain into happiness.

8. As a rising talent, what is it you fear? And how do you overcome your fears?

A: There is really nothing to fear about. The world is big and life is short - if we think about that, there is really no time for us to be worried or scared about anything. I always push myself to think about ideas, so my brain is always occupied.

9. Is there anything that through your work you’d like to change in our current society to make it more amicable? And if so, what is it and how?

A: It is extremely difficult to let the public understand one's thoughts and feelings, but I would feel grateful as long as people who see my works get a certain kind of reflection or positive influence - e.g. Freedom, strength, passion, determination to make changes or ideas to create. Fighting with oneself instead of against others would make an open defiance against the society that is unfair.

Tokyo Rumando