• Breathe, Fibres of Papers Past

    Solo exhibition at the International Museum of Surgical Science | *exhibition guide*
    March 12 - June 13, 2021

    The International Museum of Surgical Science is housed in a four-story landmarked Chicago mansion built in 1917 for socialite and philanthropist Eleanor Robinson Countiss as a family home. The design for the mansion was inspired by the Le Petit Trianon chateau on the grounds of Versailles completed in 1770, which Eleanor had visited during her travels to Europe. The fortune to fund the construction of the home was provided by her father, John Kelly Robinson, an executive at The Diamond Match Company. The Diamond Match Company was founded by Eleanor’s grandfather George Barber in Ohio and became the largest match manufacturer in the late 19th century.

    The mansion was later acquired from the family in the early 1950s by the International College of Surgeons (ICS) founded in 1935 by surgeon Dr. Max Thorek and headquartered next door. The goal of the ICS was to promote a global exchange of surgical knowledge. Initially conceived as the ICS Hall of Fame, the museum eventually expanded to become a repository for its growing collection of historically significant surgical instrumentation, artworks and manuscripts from surgeons, collectors and institutions.

    Together with Dr. Solomon Greenspahn, Dr. Thorek founded the American Hospital primarily to support low-income patients in 1917 – the same year the Countiss Mansion was completed. His professional endeavors are chronicled in his autobiography, A Surgeon’s World. Dr. Thorek was also an accomplished photographer, participating in photography salons worldwide. He published two photography books, Creative Camera Art (1937) and Camera Art as a Means of Self-Expression (1947), detailing the technical aspects of the paper negative process and aesthetic concerns of the Pictorialist photographer.

    Breathe, Fibres of Papers Past begins with an homage to these two historical narratives and continues throughout the four floors of the museum. The exhibition responds to these intertwined histories by engaging objects from the museum’s permanent collection, which include original blueprints of the mansion and a variety of medicinal and photographic material. By pulling together varied physical and textual sources, Aoki reveals the layered architectural, historical, and haptic relationships that compose a place.


    Diamond Tin Series - photographs of Countiss Mansion created with artist-made Diamond Tin pinhole camera. gelatin silver prints

    Anatomy Of - sectional cyanotypes created from original 1916 architectural drawings of the Countiss Mansion

    Appears to Be in Twelve - series of sequential images where exposure is determined by the number of breaths taken, ascending from one to twelve. Frames created by former respiratory therapist Steve Ducklow. gelatin silver prints

    photograms on x-ray film
    digital projection 16mm film


    Sightline Siteline - Panorama photographed from mansion rooftop with Henry Clay Camera, belonging to IMSS permanent collection. gelatin silver prints

    Signature Bun - photograms of artist hair hung at artist bun height. Gelatin silver prints & artist hair.

  • Sixth Planet from the Sun

    Two-person show at LVL3 | January 22 - March 6,2022

    In Sixth Planet, Kioto Aoki and Pamela Ramos explore the physical and relational nature of photography. As artists, they each approach the tangibility of light and its workings, as it navigates and decays across space. Both their practices nurture a careful examination of site-responsive encounters, as they pertain to time and the material body. Aoki unpacks the very notion of what it means to collect, document, and recall one’s life through the photographic process. The artist exposes the realities of the daily routine as a series of romantic possibilities. Ramos’ work depicts and aims to demystify set definitions of the self and the other. Through symbiotic decay, one may uncover the lasting impressions of close, interpersonal bonds. By reimagining forgotten objects and material Ramos reclaims context and authorship in anonymity. In Sixth Planet from the Sun, Aoki and Ramos walk viewers through a soft haze of nostalgia, prompting deliberate and sentimental considerations of the self and the everyday.
  • Sonorous Admittings

    Sonorous Admittings is a sonic landscape that accentuates the taiko drum’s most fundamental and captivating element: acoustic resonance. The simple phrasing played by the artist on the odaiko (larger taiko) and smaller shime taiko enunciate the textural and tonal shifts of assonant sound between silence, and recreates what it feels like to play the odaiko and be completely surrounded by thunderous reverberations.

    Commissioned by Experimental Sound Studio for the Sonic Pavilion Festival, a series of 30-channel sound installations for the spatialized overhead trellis loudspeaker array at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion. The result is an immersive canopy of sound—a fluid sonic architecture that bridges the focus of a live performance and the majesty of the surrounding cityscape. Sonic Pavilion Festival is developed by Experimental Sound Studio and is presented by Millennium Park and the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

    taiko, 20 minutes
    August - September 2021
  • frame, remnants, inflections

    In Flux: Chicago Artists and Immigration is a continuation of the Living Architecture project presented by 6018|North. The exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center responds to the current political climate to highlight how Chicago was built with immigrant labor, particularly in the arts.

    First opened to the public as the Reference Room in 1897, the Exhibit Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center featured windows along two sections of the east and west walls. The windows on the west wall have since been bricked in and their remaining silhouettes become latent images of the past. The photographs acknowledge the history of the exhibition space, documenting the interior and exterior views of these gallery walls and calling attention to what once was. The images also recall various meanings of the frame, as a space that can define or defy the conceptual, physical, architectural, historical, geographical and photographic borders: a place of mobility.

    frame, remnants, inflections (2020)
    20x24 inches
    gelatin silver prints
  • あずりピン•ホール // pin•whole

    Pinhole series photographed in the Tokachi Region of Hokkaido, Japan. Focusing on local community members, pinhole cameras were made from materials and objects available in the subjects' workspace and photographed with on-site.

    In the Hokkaido dialect the word azuru / あずる implies the notion of a struggle. The title alludes to the improvisational nature of resourcefully crafting cameras that did not always yield the desired result; as well as the creation of itinerant darkrooms that were a vital part of the project experience.

    Sponsored in part by Asian Improv aRts Midwest and the Tokachi International Cultural Exchange Center as part of the Chicago Obihiro Exchange Project, initiated to cultivate international dialogue between contemporary artists from Japan and Chicago.

    gelatin silver prints
    2019
  • Stay this way, facing the light

    Two-person exhibition with Daniel Hojnacki at Apparatus Projects

    "Daniel Hojnacki and Kioto Aoki seek to complicate photography’s often explicit relationships to memory, loss, visual legibility and light. Hojnacki and Aoki’s work engages deeply with photographic history and materiality in order to challenge assumptions about the finitude or descriptive quality of an image as a window into some other place or some other time. complicates photography’s often explicit relationships to memory, loss, visual legibility and light. Hojnacki and Aoki have developed a set of images that seeks to reintegrate a critical intimacy into the way we view a photograph: hands grasping at nothing, a flower that only blooms at night, negatives propped against a nightlight, and photographs of loved ones since gone. These images set the scene for a conversation about photography’s role in shaping our memories, desires and contradictions by translating a picture not only through our eyes, but through a gentle choreography interweaving surface, body, and light."

    gelatin silver prints, night light, lumen prints
    2019

    images courtesy of Daniel Hojnacki
  • Duet in C(amera)

    Film loop and photography installation. Projectors activated by sensors as viewer enters the space, enabling the viewer to be instigator of one layer of movement.

    16mm film loops
    gelatin silver photographs, printed from segments dance-movement film
    2017

    Low Residency MFA Show
    Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Dual Enframe

    Projection installation of Dual Enframe for Projections after Dark at Roman Susan

    Chicago, IL | 2018
  • After Uematsu Keiji

    A reinterpretation of Japanese conceptual artist Uematsu Keiji's 1973 work Vertical Position, where the human body functions as units of measurement to create an architectural column.

    Installations at Chicago Artists Coalition & Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago and Gallery Kouei in Obihiro, Japan

    double-sided inkjet accordion book, length determined by height of installation space
    2017 - present
  • Hand Held

    A book that reiterates the act of reaching, looking and holding.

    handbound book, edition of 3
    archival inkjet print
    2017