The award-winning photographer Komatsu Hiroko has designed her latest installation, Self-Slowing Error, specifically for the Davis Museum’s Levine Gallery. Komatsu uses 8x10 prints, large rolls of uncut photographic paper, and videos filmed during previous exhibitions to coat the gallery in monochrome, generating a uniquely embodied experience of photography. This material overload acts as a proxy for Komatsu’s photographic subject matter—industrial building and scrap materials that await transfer to sites of new construction, or the dump. In the wake of massive redevelopment projects in her home city of Tokyo, the host of the Summer Olympic Games in 2021, this installation reflects on the logic of capitalism. Unveiling the environmental chaos and excessive waste that undergirds urban renewal, Komatsu’s work creates a space to consider the cycles of creation and destruction that define the twenty-first century city. Accompanied by a bilingual online catalogue, this is the artist’s first exhibition in North America, and the first solo exhibition at the Davis Museum devoted to an artist from Japan.


Komatsu Hiroko (b. 1969 Kangawa, Japan) is an award-winning photographer who has held exhibitions in Japan, Germany, Italy, and Spain. From 2010 to 2011, she rented out the space of a former real estate agency where she staged monthly exhibitions under the title, “Broiler Space.” Her work has been published in Asahi Graph, Artforum, and PHaT Photo, among other journals, monographs, and exhibition catalogues. She creates her own photobooks by hand, and, in 2018, she was the recipient of the 43rd Kimura Ihei Award for new photographers in Japan. Her work is held in the collections of The MAST Foundation in Bologna and Tate Modern in London.


Curated by Carrie Cushman, the Linda Wyatt Gruber ‘66 Curatorial Fellow in Photography, this exhibition is generously supported by a grant from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis, the Mildred Cooper Glimcher '61 Endowed Fund, and the Anonymous ’70 Endowed Davis Museum Program Fund.   

View the bilingual (English/Japanese) online catalogue Komatsu Hiroko: Creative Destruction, edited by Carrie Cushman and with contributions by Komatsu Hiroko, Mitsuda Yuri, Franz Prichard, and Umezu Gen. Click on the image below:

Installation of Komatsu Hiroko: Creative Destruction

This timelapse video records the installation of the exhibition, Komatsu Hiroko: Creative Destruction at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College in August, 2021. Special thanks to the artist Komatsu Hiroko, Davis Museum preparators Mark Beeman and Caitlin Duennebier, and art handlers Bella Steele and Tony Montuori.