The photobook “Symposion About Love 1996-2000” consists of works from four different series, created by inri between 1996 and 2000, before inri’s fateful meeting with RongRong, her now-husband and the other part of the influential artist duo RongRong&inri.
Tokyo, at the end of the century. The Bubble economy has burst, and the youth believed in Nostradamus’ predictions of the upcoming end of the world. Amidst the gloom, apocalyptic decadence and inri’s personal time of darkness, “Symposion” depicts a journey towards the light, of finding one’s own hope. While different in style, technique and genre, the four series in the book – “Selfportrait”, “Maximax”, “Gray Zone”, “1999 Tokyo” – are yet connected by a common thread, though not consciously so at the time: love.
“When I started out, love was not in my repertoire, and even in my dreams I would not have envisaged myself thinking of love as a theme for my photographs. My idea of love is continually changing as I explore, going deeper and deeper into photography, and its inseparable presence within me leads to big struggles from time to time. I think in terms of ‘love=photography’ (…)
You’re starting off all alone, shut up in your room, but I want to tell you that your world has a future. Even if you have to tear apart your shell and leave your vulnerable inner self exposed, you can still go on living as yourself.”
— from inri’s afterword
“These works make people feel a kind of pent up suffering, the fate and distress of those who have no choice but to express themselves artistically. When it comes to trying to painstakingly control and direct the creative energy that can strike at any moment, it's when the flame touches the point of ignition that "work" is created. She takes that which must be articulated to be revealed--her pent up restlessness, impatience, indignation, conflict, and desire--along with all kinds of thoughts, and personally pours them out in front of the camera. She uses the camera to extract them, developing them on film or bringing them to the printer, makes sample prints, meticulously sifts through them one by one, selects a few to enlarge, and after careful scrutiny, returns to her place in front of the camera. This task is repeated over and over. Self portraiture is the act of relativizing the self in the midst of a continuously repeating process. Thousands of photographs are born from the seemingly uncontrollable vortex within her, she makes an objective selection and ultimately only the handful that survive become "artworks.”
— from Michiko Kasahara's afterword
All texts included in Japanese, English and Chinese translation.