Reiko Imoto was born and grew up in Kobe, Japan, where she found her love of art during early childhood. After she was given her father’s old 35mm SLR camera, she started photography in 1993. Reiko left Japan in 1994, and lived in Ireland, England, and the United States. In 2002 she earned a Master’s degree of Fine Arts in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. Since 2004, she has lived and worked as a fine art photographer in Brussels, Belgium, having solo as well as group exhibitions, publishing books, and giving lectures and slideshows in Europe, the United States, Japan and Cuba.
Since 1993, Reiko has had 32 solo exhibitions and 37 group exhibitions in the galleries, art centers, museums, universities, embassies, international photo festivals and art fairs in 16 countries: Japan, England, the United States, Poland, Slovakia, Russia, China, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, Cuba and Greece. She has plans for future exhibitions worldwide. Some of her solo exhibitions were invitational exhibitions in several international festivals of photography such as “Fotofestiwal” (Lodz, Poland, 2004), “Month of Photography” (Bratislava, Slovakia, 2005), “Diaporama, festival de photographie” (Nantes, France, 2006), and “Fotoseptiembre USA” (San Antonio, Texas, USA, 2006 and 2008). The exhibitions held at the embassies were a solo exhibition in the Japanese Embassy, Brussels, Belgium, 2006, and a 3 person exhibition in the Korean Embassy, Tokyo, Japan, 2013. The art fairs and biennale that selected her work for exhibition included “Art Shanghai” (Shanghai, China, 2006), “Fotonoviembre” (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, 2007), “Emerging Directors’ Art Fair, ULTRA 004” (Tokyo, Japan, 2011), and “Art on Paper” (Brussels, Belgium, 2013).
Reiko’s work, “Dreamscapes” (2005), presented in a triptych format, was well received when it was exhibited in 22 cities in 12 countries between 2005 and 2014. In 2007 her first monograph catalogue, Dreamscapes, which comprised the work of “Dreamscapes” and another work, “Dreams of the Amnesiac” (2004), was published by OKiS to celebrate her traveling exhibition in Poland. An unspeakable world of dreams with its own secret and enigma is expressed in those works.
Her work, “Visions of the Other Side” (2002), which has a theme of mysterious moments hidden in daily life, was exhibited as a solo show in the United States (Savannah, GA, 2002), Poland (Lodz, 2004), Belgium (Brussels, 2006), and Switzerland (Oberwil, 2010), and Japan (Kobe, 2013). Another work titled “Time Traveler’s Diary” (2008), in which a sense of “distorted time” was expressed by using such visual effects as solarization and distortion, was exhibited as a solo show in the United States (San Antonio, TX, 2008), France (Lacoste, 2008), Czech Republic (Cheb, 2009, and Prague, 2010), and Japan (Kobe, 2013). Reiko’s monograph book, Visions of the Other Side featuring the above two works, was published by KANT in Prague, Czech Republic, in spring, 2012. This photo-book contains the photographs that are most surrealistic in Reiko’s works.
“Miniascape Window” (2012) was the work Reiko created by taking a hint from a type of psychotherapy called sandplay therapy. It was published as a monograph photo-book with the same title, Miniascape Window, by Tosei-sha, Tokyo, Japan, in autumn, 2012. And the solo exhibition with the same title was held at Gallery Tosei (Tokyo, Japan) to celebrate the publication of the book. Afterwards, the exhibition was also held in Bremen, Germany (2013) and Basel, Switzerland (2014). The exhibitions were well received along with the photo-book. The images in this book suggest the elements of Romanticism in the poetic atmosphere: release of emotionality and individuality, a sense of unity with nature, and a longing for mystical experience and eternity.
Her new photo-book, CUBA: The Blue Bird Dreams about the World beyond the Sea is Reiko’s 4th monograph, and the pictures in the book were photographed while she was in Cuba during her exhibitions in Havana and Santiago de Cuba in February, 2014. To celebrate the publication, a solo exhibition, “CUBA: The Blue Bird Dreams about the World beyond the Sea” was held at Gallery Tosei in July, 2015. The work presented in this book as well as in the show is her first work in color.
Many of Reiko’s works have become part of private and public collections in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Some of her prints were selected for the “Art Collection of F. Hoffmann – La Roche AG,” Basel, Switzerland in 2010. Her works and interviews have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers internationally, and she has won several grants and awards including the Best Portfolio Award at the “International Portfolio Review” in Bratislava, Slovakia in 2004.
The consistent themes in Reiko’s series of works are dreams, memories, imagination, wishes, and so on: the things we can see only when our eyes are closed. Being an ardent admirer of psychology of dreams and subconsciousness, the world of fairy tales, and surrealism art, she thinks of what is seen only within one’s own inner world (personal vision) as “another reality,” and has been working on capturing such internal reality on her photographs. Instead of giving the “answers,” her work confronts the viewers with “questions” of what reality is. As a photographer, Reiko continues aiming at visual expression of an invisible, subconscious world, which might appear unexpectedly from a narrow gap between the aspects of our daily life.