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Olivia Rohde: Vague

Copenhagen, Denmark


The Vague exhibition challenges the way Westerners perceive another culture, different from its own. 

In Japan, the familiar is hidden away through the optics of a Westerner and the safe assumptions are reduced to guessing. 

The photographer, Olivia Rohde, travelled to Japan in 2018 and experienced – for the first time – an entirely different reality. Tokyo and Kyoto showcase the Japanese culture, but are stark opposites. 

In Tokyo, the crowd and mass production are wonderfully unified with a structured flow and overwhelming safety. In Kyoto, the nature is present in a respectful unity with man who demonstrates modesty and gratefulness for the surroundings. Japanese cultures cause an extreme fascination and wanting for the familiar. We can more comfortably define our surroundings and feel safe in the familiar, but this is not the purpose of the exhibition. 

Vague = unclear character or meaning.

With her photographs, she seeks to create a frame meant for interpretation. The urge to define has to be suppressed, when the 12 hanging pieces are exhibited without chronology or obvious intention. The ambiguous motifs are meant to let thoughts flow without necessarily being redeemed. The aim is a universal language without presumptions. 

Edited by Tofu Collective