Friday, 20 April 2012

An Interview with the artist Monika Mogi


Monika Mogi is one of the most interesting artists to emerge from the new model of digital girlhood. The quiet provocation of the bodies in her photographs fascinate me. She was nice enough to talk to me about her work for my own research on the construction of the girl.

How do you perceive the body of the girl in you art?
I am surrounded by girls because I am a girl and I love capturing the girly-ness of a girl! A lot of images I took in the 'I forgot to Remember to Forget' series were random snapshots I didn't even think of when I took them. When I got the development back I was so happy to see these unexpected moments and I loved how they genuinely captured a glimmer of their personality. They are very special to me.

Can you explain your 'Girl Child', the fourth piece from your 'i forgot to remember' series?
This is a painting (unknown artist) from a small gallery in Toyoshina, Nagano, Japan. Toyoshina is my grandmother's hometown, it's really rural and we were there for a family reunion. This painting seemed to fit my feeling at the time.

Can you explain piece number six from your 'yume no iro' series?
Yume No Iro means The Color of a Dream in Japanese. I collect all sorts of imagery from really rare photobooks my grandfather and great uncle gave me. The photobooks are dated usually back to the 50's and they are 'how-to' books on photography with never any real credit source. It makes me sad that no one will ever see this amazing imagery, so I use them in collages. These were all used in the series Yume no Iro. I then edit and paint and cut and paste and blend to make the final piece. The number six piece, I used an image from the photobooks and the scans of my tarot cards. I think of the moon and the universe and dreams quite a lot. I always give readings to my friends and myself on a regular basis. This whole series basically described that obsession.

Which artists influence you and why?
John Stezaker, I saw his exhibition and fell in love. His pieces really call out to me and I stare at them for so long. He really inspired my collage work I think.

There seems to be a dialogue between Japanese and American image culture in your collage work. Was that intentional?
I grew up in Tokyo and until I was 18 I moved around to other countries. I am also half Japanese, half American. I have been living in California for about 6 months now and I feel the culture shock. I think my 'San Diego Girls' series was my first sketch of that.

Has living in London influenced your work?
Yes, definitely, I started living alone for the first time in London. I moved there from Japan when I was 18 and lived in Islington...then Peckham for about 10 months. I loved the diverse cultures and the free museums. I learned a lot from living there. 

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