Daniel Hojnacki and Kioto Aoki:

Stay this way, facing the light

May 26 - June 30, 2019

Installation view of Stay this way, facing the light

Installation view of Stay this way, facing the light

Apparatus is proud to present Stay this way, facing the light, a two-person exhibition featuring the work of Daniel Hojnacki and Kioto Aoki that seeks to complicate photography’s often explicit relationships to memory, loss, visual legibility and light. Hojnacki and Aoki’s work engages with photographic history and materiality in order to challenge assumptions about the finitude or descriptive quality of an image as a window into some other place or some other time. Coating the windows of the gallery in a light-limiting film, the artists have collaboratively and effectively erased the gallery’s primary source of illumination, choosing to rely instead on haptic visual experiences through what remains of the ambient light in the space. Each artists’ work tests the conceptual, material, and historic bounds of a media developed for the sake of clarity and permanence by engaging with techniques that challenge the legibility, longevity, and limits of the photographic image’s surface. Hojnacki and Aoki have developed a set of images that seeks to reintegrate a critical intimacy into the way we view a photograph: hands grasping at nothing, a flower that only blooms at night, negatives propped against a nightlight, and photographs of loved ones since gone. These images set the scene for a conversation about photography’s role in shaping our memories, desires and contradictions by translating a picture not only through our eyes, but through a gentle choreography interweaving surface, body, and light.

Kioto Aoki is a visual artist whose practice includes photography, film, books and installations. She has exhibited work and screened in Chicago, Berlin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Japan. Her work is held in Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Library. Kioto received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017).

Daniel Hojnacki’s (b.1989) work is driven by experimental photographic investigations on themes of time, memory and loss. Hojnacki has been an educator for youth in the Chicago area at After School Matters and The Chicago High School for The Arts (ChiArts). Hojnacki received his BA from Columbia College Chicago in 2011 and will be attending The University of New Mexico for his MFA in the Fall of 2019. His work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago,IL), The Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago, IL), Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (Milwaukee, WI), Tormenta Gallery (La Plata, Argentina), ‘Untitled’ Art Space (Vancouver, BC), Johalla Projects (Chicago, IL), The Franklin (Chicago, IL) and Chicago Art Department (Chicago,IL). His work has been reviewed and published by Hyperallergic, New City Art, LVL 3 artist of the week, and Specimen La Revue (Lyon, France). He has been awarded the Community Assistance Arts Program Grant, the Albert P Weisman Award 2011, and residencies at Residencia Corazón (Argentina) and the HATCH Projects with the Chicago Artists Coalition.

The traveler watches: her eyes, indeed, are opening more and more, the lids separating, and in a movement so slow it is nearly indiscernible, her whole body follows her eyes, turning toward the growing light.

            Stay this way, facing the light.

            The traveler asks:


-She sees?


You Hear: - No, she doesn’t see anything.


In the night of S. Thala, the sirens wail. The sea swells,

            loses its color like the sky.

                        You hear:


-She’ll stay just like that until light dawns.


They are silent. The light grows imperceptibly, its movement so slow. Like the separation of sand and water.

The light rises, opens, illuminating the growing space.

The fire fades, like the sky, the sea.

The traveler asks:


-What will happen when the light reaches us?


You hear:


            -For an instant it will blind her. Then she will start to see me again. Start to distinguish the sand from the sea, then the sea from the light, then her body from my body. Then she will separate the cold from the night and give it to me. Only then will she hear the sound, you know ...? of God . . .? that thing . . .?


            They are silent. They watch the dawning light. [1]


[1] Marguerite Duras, Kazim Ali, and Libby Murphy, L'amour (Rochester, NY: Open Letter, 2013), 97, 98.