Toshiko OkanoueArtist Biography
From The History of Japanese Photography (Yale/MFAH, 2003):
Born in the city of K˘chi in Shikoku in 1928, Toshiko Okanoue moved to Tokyo at age one. At eighteen she entered the home economics department of the Keisen J˘gakuen higher school, where she became friends with Wakayama Asaka (later an actor with the Gekidan Shiki theater company who would marry the composer Takemitsu T˘ru). After graduating in 1948 she entered the Ogawa Fukus˘ Gakuen, a fashion school, and in 1950 the design department of Bunka Gakuin College. Around this time she encountered harie (pictures made by combining torn pieces of washi, Japanese hand-molded paper) made by a friend on campus, and she began to produce an original style of photo collage made by pasting photographs cut from such magazines as Vogue and Life on black flockpaper. Around 1951 Takemitsu introduced her to the art critic Takiguchi Shűz˘, to whom she showed dozens of her collages. Later she was shown some Max Ernst collages on a visit to Takiguchi’s home, and Ernst’s method for dealing with the background of his images came as a revelation to her.
In 1953, under Takiguchi’s strong encouragement, the Takemiya Gallery in the Kanda district of Tokyo held a one-woman exhibition of fifty of Okanoue’s collages. Her work was featured in numerous art and photography magazines, and in December 1953 ten of her works were selected for an exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, entitled Abstraction and Illusion: How Are We to Understand Non-Realist Painting? At a second exhibition of her work at Takemiya Gallery in 1956, she exhibited monochrome photographs that she had shot herself in addition to her photo collages. In December of the following year she married the painter Fujino Kazutomo and thereafter discontinued active production, though her work was introduced in the American Photography Handbook (Connecticut: Fawcett Publications, 1959). She also produced illustrations for her own children’s books and those by the avant-garde playwright Terayama Shűji, as well as for newspapers. In 2000, at age seventy-two and after an absence of forty-four years, she held a one-woman show, Okanoue Toshiko Photo Collage: Droplets of Dreams at the Dai-Ichi Mutual Insurance South Gallery in Tokyo.
• “Yume no shizuku” (Droplets of dreams), Bijutsu tech˘, March 1953.
• “Watakushi to korÔju” (The collage and I), Tsukue, April 1953.
Takiguchi Shűz˘, “KorÔju no bigaku” (Art of the collage), Bijutsu tech˘, March 1953.
———, “Okanoue Toshiko no korÔju ni tsuite” (Okanoue Toshiko’s collages,” Camera, March 1956.
Nihon gendai shashinshi ten (The History of Japanese Contemporary Photography 1945–1970) (Japan Professional Photographers Society, exhibition catalogue, 1975).
Okanoue Toshiko Photo-Collage: Droplets of Dreams (Tokyo: Dai-Ichi Mutual Life Insurance South Gallery, exhibition pamphlet in Japanese and English, 2000).
1953 Raito-appu—Atarashii sengo bijutsuz˘ ga miete kita (Shedding Light on Art in Japan) (Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo, exhibition catalogue, 1996).
Anne Tucker et al, The History of Japanese Photography (Yale/MFA, Houston, 2003).