The artist was born in Shiga, Japan, in 1972. She currently lives and works in Tokyo.Kawauchi burst on the international scene in 2001 when she was awarded the Kimura-Ihei-Prize, Japan’s most important emerging talent photography prize, shortly followed by the simultaneous publication of three beautiful books, Utatane (Catnap), Hanabi (Fireworks), and Hanako, her very personal study of a young girl of the same name. Met with great critical acclaim, these 'visual essays' demonstrate her finesse and skill of telling a photographic tale. Since this triple-debut, the artist has gone to publish another eleven books, the newest of which are Illuminance and Ametsuchi.
Kawauchi, currently one of the most famed contemporary female Asian artists, is a recipient the eminent Annual Infinity Award (2009) from New York’s International Centre of Photography, in the category Art, and similarly was shortlisted in 2012 for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. She has joined and held many group and solo shows both at home and abroad, with major solo exhibitions in the Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain in Paris, London’s The Photographers’ Gallery, the Hasselblad Centre in Gothenburg, Semear Museu de Arte Moderna de Sao Paulo, the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum in Shizuoka, or Brussels’ ARGOS Centre for Art & Media. Major group exhibitions to date include those at Munich’s Haus der Kunst, the Huis Marseille in Amsterdam, Museum of Contemporary Art, in Tokyo, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art in Aichi, or the Brighton Photo Biennial 2010: New Documents. Her unique approach is like a “drawing senses”, embracing motifs of every day details as well as cycle of life and its transience, and has been admired by art lovers all over the world.