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Tokihiro Sato


Tokihiro Sato is one of Japan's best known artists working in photography. Trained as a sculptor, he has been using photography since the late 1980s to express his ideas about light and space. In an ongoing series that he describes as "breath graphs" or "photo respiration," tiny points of light or illuminated lines record his movements through space. Using a large-format camera set on a tripod and timed for exposures that may last from one to three hours, he moves quickly through the described space. When shooting in daylight, he flashes a mirror at the sun. At night, or indoors, he uses a flashlight. The resulting photographs capture exquisitely detailed scenes punctuated by pinpoints or linear patterns of light that depict the artist's presence but not his image.



2017Micheko Gallery, Munich, Germany

2015Tokihiro Sato, Piet Hein Eek Art Gallery, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Sato Tokihiro, Tsuruoka Art Forum Gallery, Tsuruoka, Japan

2014Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan
2010Presence or Absence: The Photographs of Tokihiro Sato, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee
Trees, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
Trees, Haines Gallery, San Francisco
2008Fukushima City Museum of Photography, Japan
2007Haines Gallery, San Francisco
Gallery Raku, Kyoto, Japan
2006Tai Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2005Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
The Art Institute of Chicago
Haines Gallery, San Francisco
Gallery Gan, Tokyo,
2004The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
Camera Obscura Project, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan
2003Cleveland Museum of Art
Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
2002Hamada Children’s Museum of Art, Japan
2001Gallery Gan, Tokyo
2000Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
1999The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan (two–person show)
Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh (two–person show)
Sakata City Museum of Art, Yamagata, Japan
Gallery Gan, Tokyo
1998Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
1997Gallery Gan, Tokyo
1996Gallery Gan, Tokyo
Gallery Natsuka, Tokyo
1995Gallery Lunami, Tokyo
Gallery Nikko, Tokyo
1993Gallery Surge, Tokyo
Jacobins Museum of Fine Art, Agen, France
Spiral Garden, Tokyo
1992Gallery Hosomi, Tokyo
Gallery Moris, Tokyo
Gallery Valentine, Nagano
Gallery Temporary Space #022, Sapporo
1991Gallery Lunami, Tokyo
Gallery Surge, Tokyo
E’Space, Tokyo
1989Gallery Lunami, Tokyo
1988Gallery Lunami, Tokyo
1987Gallery Maki, Tokyo
1986Gallery Parergon II, Tokyo
1984Gallery Tamura, Tokyo
1983Gallery Lunami, Tokyo
1982Gallery Tokiwa, Tokyo
University Hall Gallery, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo
G Art Gallery, Tokyo



2017In the Woods: Trees in Photography, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
Mercedes-Benz Art Scope 2015-2017: Wandering to Wonder, Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan

2016Shared Space: A New Era, Photographs from the Bank of America Collection, McColl Center, Charlotte, NC
20-Year Anniversary TOP Collection: Tokyo Tokyo and TOKYO, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Lux: The Radiant Sea, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

2015Dislocation/Urban Experience: Contemporary Photographs from East Asia, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
Exhibition of the 31st Higashikawa Award Winners, Higashikawa Bunka Gallery, Hokkaido, Japan
Time Present – Photography from the Deutsche Bank Collection, Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Goethe’s Chamber, Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Time Present – Photography from the Deutsche Bank Collection, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai

2014Time Present – Photography from the Deutsche Bank Collection, Singapore Art Museum

2013The Aesthetics of Photography – Five Elements, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan
Still Action! 1708 Gallery, Richmond, Virginia
Tamamono: From the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
2012Recent Acquisitions: Photography, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida
2008Intertextuality of Light, East Asia Contemporary, Shanghai
Summer Camp for Sculpture, Museum of Art Mercian Karuizawa Nagano, Japan
Ogaki Biennial, Ogaki Gifu, Japan
2007Plastic Time Contemporary Art Exhibition, Jing Art Gallery, Shanghai
Japan Caught by Camera, Shanghai Art Museum
Landscape & Memory II, Haines Gallery, San Francisco
The Photograph; What You See & What You Don’t, Museum at Tokyo University of Fine Art,
Ueno, Tokyo, Japan
Toride Art Project, Toride City Ibaraki
Out of Body, Deutsche Bank Art, Level B Gallery, New York
2006epSITE Retrospective 1998–2006, Epson Imaging Gallery Epsite, Tokyo, Japan
Blind Date Seligenstadt: New Acquisitions to the Deutsche Bank Collection, Art Forum,
Seligenstadt, Germany
2005Framing Exposure: Process and Politics, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
Sightseeing Bus Camera Project, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
The Art of Breathing in the World: Art and Respiration, Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art and Sakera City
Museum of Art, Chiba, Japan
Pairs, Groups, and Grids, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
2004Temporalscape, Haines Gallery, San Francisco
2003The Imaginary City “Metamorphosis” Hiroshima, Hiroshima City University
The History of Japanese Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Cleveland Museum of Art
2002Staging Reality, Photography from the West Collection, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia
Regarding Landscape, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montreal
Cyclical Art Site - Contemporary Art Exhibition in Oita 2002, Oita Art Museum, Oita, Japan
2001Ellipsis, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
Luminous, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington
Techno-Landscape, NTT Inter Communication Center, Tokyo
VIBRATION: Expressive Power of Sculpture, Utsunomiya Museum of Art, Tochigi, Japan
G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle
2000City of Lights: Art Walk, Comité Colbert, New York
Group show, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
On Site: Contemporary Photography of Place, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2000, Niigata, Japan
1999Full Exposure, The New Jersey Center for the Visual Arts, Summit, New Jersey
Blind Spot 12, Robert Mann Gallery, New York
The Big Picture: Large Format Photography, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, Vermont
Breathing Landscapes, Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
The 9th Bangladesh Asian Art Biennial, Bangladesh
1998Attack/Damage, Itabashi Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Japan-Brazil International Tour Exhibition 98/99, toured Rio de Janeiro and five cities in Brazil
Catherine Opie, Richard Rothman and Tokihiro Sato, Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, New York
1997Photography and Beyond in Japan, the Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu
The 6th Havana Biennial, Cuba
Ways of (Re)Production, Hara Museum ARC, Gunma
1996Photography and Beyond in Japan, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.;
Denver Art Museum
Liquid Crystal Futures, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin; Göteborg Kunsthall, Sweden; Müscarnok Palace
of Exhibitions, Budapest
Requiem – Koji Enokura and 33 Artists, Saito Memorial Kawaguchi Museum of Contemporary Art, Saitama, Japan
Twelve Environments – Japan-Netherlands Contemporary Art Exchange Exhibition, Former Schoolhouse of Akasaka
Elementary School, Tokyo
Playback and Memory, Dojunkai-Daikanyama Apartment, Tokyo
Gazing into the Light – Tokihiro Sato + Shigenobu Yoshida, Iwaki City Art Museum, Fukushima, Japan

1995Photography and Beyond in Japan, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City;
Vancouver Art Gallery
After Hiroshima – Message from Contemporary Art, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art
Haizuka Earth Works Project, Hiroshima, Japan
NowHere, Het Aporo House, Holland
Nostalgia for Future – Contemporary Art of Yamagata, Yamagata Museum of Art
Open – Air Exhibition – Passage of the Wind, Omiya
Liquid Crystal Futures, Spiral Garden, Tokyo

1994Photography and Beyond in Japan, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Liquid Crystal Futures, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
Visualization in the End of the Twentieth Century, The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
Time/Art ‘Time’ is Expressed in the 20th Century Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga, Japan

199300 Collaboration, Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo
Art Scope ’93, Mercedes-Benz, Japan
1st Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
19921st Transart Annual Painting/Crossing, Bellini Hill Yokohama Galleria, Yokohama, Japan
Okabe e Sato a Roma 1991, Gallery Lunami, Tokyo
Japanese Contemporary Photographs, Walker Hill Art Center, Seoul, South Korea
1991The Echoes Lights, Gallery Ai, Tokyo
Compound of the Maniera, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, Tokyo
Simultaneita, Museo di Roma Palazzo Braschi, Rome
Photographic Narration II, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo
Line in Contemporary Art - The Destination of Eyes and Hands, The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
Okabe e Sato a Roma 1991 Gallery Temporary Space #012, Sapporo, Japan,
The 10th Parallelism in Art Exhibition, Ohara Center, Tokyo
Make-Believe, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
New Space of Photography, Wroclaw, Poland
20 Promising Photographers Vol. 2, Parco Gallery, Tokyo
Australia x Japan Joint Exhibition, Gallery Lunami, Tokyo
Hiroshi Yamazaki x Tokihiro Sato Two Men Exhibition, Gallery Hosomi, Tokyo
1990The 18th International Art Exhibition Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
International Photograph Festival in Higashikawa, Higashikawa, Hokkaido, Japan
Japanese Contemporary Exhibition, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Pavillon des Arts, Paris
Pusan Biennial 5th, Pusan, South Korea
The Imprinted Ideas, Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Art, Utsunomiya, Japan
1989The Echoes Lights, Gallery Ai, Tokyo
Japan Professional Photographers Society Exhibition, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Lunami Selection ‘89, Gallery Lunami, Tokyo
Summer Festival ‘89 in Hakushu, (‘90, ‘91, ‘92), Yamanashi, Japan
Window of Marginal Arts, Entetsu Department Store, Hamamatsu, Japan
Because, Gallery Surge, Tokyo
The 151st Year of Photography, Heineken Village, Tokyo

1988Photographic Narration, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo
15 Contemporary Photographic Expressions, Tama Art University, Tokyo

1981The 15th Contemporary Art Exhibition of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The Capital Group, Los Angeles
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, Vermont
The School of Business, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Merrill Lynch, New York
Pfizer, Inc., New York
Progressive Corporation, Mayfield Village, Ohio
Goldman Sachs & Co., New York
Goldman Sachs & Co., Tokyo
The Rand Corporation
Citibank, New York
The La Salle Bank, Chicago
Microsoft Corporation
Iwaki Municipal Art Museum, Fukushima, Japan
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
Hara Museum of Art, Tokyo
Chiba City Art Museum, Chiba, Japan
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
Japan Energy Corporation
Fuji Xerox Corporation
Yamagata Museum of Art
Bering Securities, Ltd.
Higashikawa Cultural Gallery, Hokkaido, Japan
Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
Japan Foundation, Tokyo
Press Kit Corporation, Tokyo
Yubari Art Museum
Itabashi Art Museum
Deutsche Real Estate Consulting
Deutsche Bank
The Cleveland Clinic

Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida

BNY Mellon Corporation