Madoka TakagiU.S., b. Japan 1956
Ellis Island (Doors) 2000.0009
The intersection of urban landscape with history and myth is the subject that has preoccupied Los Angeles artist Madoka Takagi over the last several years. Her luminous platinum prints are intentionally modest in scale and devoid of figures. The technically challenging and notoriously difficult process of platinum printing and the use of rice paper give her photographs a nostalgic quality. In Ellis Island, Takagi focuses on slightly open, but deteriorating doors in the structure that, at its peak, received thousands of immigrants a day. The doors serve as a powerful metaphor for freedom and opportunity but at the same time testify to changing times in America's history. Ellis Island was closed in 1954, however the main building housing the Registry Room was restored and turned into an immigration museum in 1990. In the peak years between 1892 and 1924, Ellis Island processed over 16 million immigrants. Over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to a man, woman, or child whose name passed from a steamboat's manifest sheet to an inspector's book in the Registry Room.
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