Kazuko Miyamoto
Archway to Cellar, 1977

The motifs of Kazuko Miyamoto’s conceptual photo series Archway to Cellar comes from the artist’s daily observation of the socio-economical context that she was also once part of: the marginalized and poor Bowery and Lower East Side district as it existed in the 1970s. The photos show sidewalk entrances to basements, which still function as storage spaces for shops and other businesses – usually run by members of various immigrant groups – today. These plain images of apparently minor and rather insignificant architectural features allude to conditions that the artist – who had also arrived as an immigrant – was experiencing directly. Miyamoto’s black-and-white photographs are investigations of the sculptural qualities of urban spaces: the artist then translates the ephemeral spatial volumes that she has observed and captured with her camera into spatial volumes that are determined by lines.

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