Takeshi Moro

(Japanese, b. 1978; resides Chicago, IL, and Columbus, OH)

Takeshi Moro contemplates in his artistic practice the accumulated weight of history and how it affects us on an individual basis. In various ways, his photographs and videos explore personal and communal burdens of guilt and regret, as well as processes of reconciliation both private and public. Implicated in this line of investigation is the question of personal experiences. Looking to his own example, Moro observes how he, as a Japanese man born after World War II, inherits responsibility for the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the atrocities that followed. He contemplates how he and the rest of his generation should contend with this history.

Working at the nexus of photography and performance, Moro collaborates with his subjects in Collecting Apologies (2009-2010), inviting each participant to offer a personal apology by bowing in a Japanese gesture of humility and self-reflection. Moro’s subjects decide what they should apologize for as well as where the apology should happen and to whom it should be directed. The intended recipient of the apology is apparent in some images, but in many it is not. The apologies are usually performed in public, lending humor to an otherwise solemn occasion. Through the simultaneous absurdity and poignancy of bowing in public, Moro hopes to humanize and lighten the burden of guilt many of us experience in our personal and collective histories.

Extensions of Collecting Apologies include two pieces: Aldrin (2010), a video in which the bowed subject digs a hole in the sand with bare hands, and Pedestal for Apology (2011), an installation entailing a pedestal as a template for visitors to enact the bow while facing a photograph of Moro bowing. Pedestal for Apology was installed as a part of the 12 × 12: New Artists/New Work series at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2011).

Born in Tokyo in 1978, Takeshi Moro grew up in the United Kingdom and currently lives and works in both Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH. He completed a BA in Economics and Visual Arts at Brown University, Providence, RI (2001), and an MFA in Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2008). His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and residencies include: Skaftfell, Center for Visual Art, Seydisfirdi, Iceland (2011); Incheon Art Platform, Incheon, South Korea (2011); Arteles, Haukijarvi, Finland (2010); and Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL (2010). He was previously an instructor at Bowling Green State University, OH and now teaches at Otterbein College in Columbus, OH.