Beautiful Smile

2019 / Video projection / 10 minutes

A woman is smiling at us, wearing certain types of garment. This video starts from the preparation stage for an actual shooting of the actor giving smile with complicated emotions behind. It is not clear if her smile is spontaneous or compulsory as an actor. The background of the story is kept unrevealed while beautiful smile of the charming character causes simultaneous occurrence of the loss and pseudo-formation of identity, which as a result obscure rather intolerable, unpleasant situation.

The background music of this work is inspired by the theme song of a particular movie. The video artwork or video installation with large projection is designed to allow the audience to see the actor’s facial expression more clearly.

 About the artist


SASAKAWA Haruko defended her doctoral dissertation in 2015, which was presented the different images surrounding war that were created during the war to the present, and her subject matters was about how these representations responded to the trends and attitudes of the people in each respective generation, and how it influenced the people. SASAKAWA especially focused on the representation of war in art through sensou-ga (war paintings), the war depicted in robot anime, and the “war” we see in video games, and concluded with thoughts on what contemporary art can represent and express regarding images of war.

She has especially focused on the war during the 1940s because of a story that her grandfather told her about his experience riding a plywood torpedo as a suicide fighter. To this day, she doesn’t know if it is true or not. Images that mix truth and fiction still inundate us in the present. Therefore, she thought that in order to confront these images and maintain objectivity, we needed to look back on past examples and learn. When delving into the history of contemporary art in Japan, it is inevitable to come into contact with paintings from during the war. But these works are, at times, detested because they have a certain mysterious charm about them that make us forget that the work itself is fictitious. In order to face this power that the image has, she utilizes parody or transform it with different material in order to drain it of its power.

Also, SASAKAWA has been organizing exhibitions to bring together the perspectives of various artists to reveal what cannot be uncovered by only one perspective. She has conducted whatever field work, research, and exhibition organization that was possible as an artist. At this point, after having concluded a fair amount of research and network building in Japan, She believes that adding a new geographic axis to her practice will allow her to understand representations of war in a way with more dimensions.

Other artworks


Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab

No. 177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan (R.O.C.)