b. 1987, Saitama, Japan
Mari Katayama has created numerous self-portrait photographs together with embroidered objects and decorated prostheses, using her own body as a living sculpture. Suffering from congenital tibial hemimelia, Katayama had both her legs amputated at the age of nine. In her work, beauty is the concept that the artist has questioned and sought after since her childhood, and her belief is that tracing her own self connects her with other people, and that just like a patchwork is made by stitching together edges with needle and thread, her everyday life can also be connected with wider society and the world.
shell, 2016, depicts the artist directly gazes into the camera, holding a shutter release in her right hand, taking control of the act of photographing, in which, as she puts it, “when someone else takes your photograph, you become the work of that person.”
bystander, 2016, was made during the artist’s stay at Naoshima Island. The photograph shows the artist clothed with embroidered textile and dolls that feature images of “hands,” which are the hands of the local residents and of onna-bunraku, a team of female puppeteers. This is the first time bodies of other people appear in her work. As Katayama takes the dolls around the island to photograph, she grew more familiar with them. Such experience reminds her of the time when she had to adjust to the prostheses after her amputation when she was nine.
Creating on the way home, 2016, while pregnant with her daughter, the artist was inspired by her realization of lifespan duration and sense of hesitancy, leading her to an introspective path in Watasegawa.
bystander #014, 2016.
C-print, 90 x 120 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Bangkok Art Biennale