Artist in Residence, News

Kioto Aoki announced as Fall 2020 Artist-in-Residence

IMSS selects Kioto Aoki for position of Artist-in-Residence for Fall 2020

International Museum of Surgical Science Fall 2020 Artist-in-Residence, Kioto Aoki

The International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS) is pleased to announce their Fall 2020 Artist in Residence, Kioto Aoki. The Museum continues its Residency program after a period of public closure from March – June, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IMSS resumes its active role in supporting Chicago and Illinois arts and artists through its Artist in Residency and “Anatomy in the Gallery” rotating contemporary art galleries. Kioto Aoki will conduct her residency throughout the rest of the year, with a capstone exhibition scheduled to open late January, 2021.

Kioto Aoki is a visual artist and educator using the material specificity of the analogue image and image-making process to explore modes of perception as a politics of vision. Her photographic work oscillates between the still and the moving image, attentive to the apparatus of the human eye and the camera; while installation and artist book works engage mechanisms of structural tangibility and site-specificity. Forming a rhetoric of nuanced quietude, her practice considers the intimacies of vision through the experience of sight from inception through presentation. 

Kioto is also a musician, descending from an okiya (geisha house) performing arts family in Tokyo –Toyoakimoto– with roots dating back to the Edo period. Studying under her Tokyo-born father, Kioto is carrying on the artistic family lineage in Chicago, playing in both traditional and contemporary musical contexts. She specializes in Japanese traditional music, playing taiko, tsuzumi, and shamisen and has been performing professionally since age 7. Kioto is active within the experimental and creative music communities in Chicago and the Bay Area and leads Tsukasa Taiko, the Japanese drumming department at Asian Improv aRts Midwest. 

”My work is all about the body and the relationship between my body and the lens. It hinges as much on the physical process as it does the visual composition. As photographer and filmmaker, I often engage the visual plane with my hands and feet. As maker, I am interested in the self-sufficient cycle of the artist being simultaneously in front of and behind the lens. The body is also as a mechanism for which the viewer can access my work. The hand is my hand but also your hand and all of humankind’s hand; as is the foot. The dancing figure is my body but it could be anyone else moving just the same.

Before pursuing the arts, I very seriously considered radiography or orthopedics as a career. I was frequenting doctor’s offices, MRIs, x-rays and CT scan appointments. I always felt I could use my intrinsically developed physical knowledge and interest through gymnastics in the future. Although I did not end up pursuing a medical career, my interest and connection to the body has never ceased. The potential to be able to connect these access points and make new work is very exciting.” – Kioto Aoki, Artist in Residence Statement of Intent

Read more about the artist at

Selected Works:

Image from series Acuities
2019 ongoing
gelatin silver print
Series for which the photographic methodology is governed by the inherent mechanism of the 4×5 field camera. During the actual moment of image-taking, film is placed between the lens and the ground glass, obstructing the view of the compositional frame. Using my hands to activate the landscape at this particular moment of limited visibility, the result is a series of aleatory compositions. The notion of visual acuity is redefined through the conceptual framework of hand-eye coordination.
Image from series Acuities
2019 ongoing
gelatin silver print

About the Residency Program: As artistic practice occupies an increasingly pluralistic field, The International Museum of Surgical Science believes that artists are uniquely equipped to extrapolate on Museum collections in innovative ways and introduce novel perspectives to the institutional depiction of medical history. The IMSS Artist Residency Program provides working artists with:

  • Access to the Museum’s extensive collections and archive
  • Visibility on the Museum’s website and social media channels
  • A month-long capstone Solo Exhibition (or equivalent presentation) at the Museum

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.