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Allegra Pacheco


May.20 - Jun.17, 2023


アレグラ パチェコ


2023年5月20日 - 6月17日


GALLERY MoMo Ryogoku is pleased to present a solo exhibition "Dear Salaryman" by Allegra Pacheco from May 20 (Sat) toJune 17 (Sat).

In this exhibition which is her first broaching the subject since the release of her film, Pacheco explores aspects of over-work,office life, and karoshi through fine arts, photography, and performance.

Pacheco stated:

"I made this film almost by accident. As my documenting of salaryman life progressed it dawned on me that the only proper way to truthfully portray and understand the salaryman world was doing this in salarymen's own words. So, many years ago in one of my stays in Tokyo, I shifted the focus of my art practice to interviews, research, and documentary film.

Having completed my film and screened it around the world, I thought it would only be natural to return to the roots of my research and come full circle-that is, to explore the subject of salaryman life once again through the lens of fine art."

For Pacheco, confronting themes of worker exploitation and Karoshi head-on is a must. Traditionally Karoshi victims face discrimination and shame aside from immense grief. By speaking about these subjects in the open Allegra insists change will follow through the eroding of old mentalities that blame the victim, instead of the company or the laws that suppress workers.

Pacheco insists Karoshi is not solely a Japanese issue, in fact, she states the fact that Japan has a word for death by overwork, is a step in the right direction towards awareness.

She also said:

"In Costa Rica, as well as in other places of the world, there are cases of Karoshi, but because they happen in banana or pineapple plantations instead of in offices we are not prompted to think of them as Karoshi. Because these cases occur in poor populations instead of in the white-collar middle class, we do not raise an eyebrow. The truth is worker exploitation happens wherever profit margins and productivity are held in higher regard than the lives of human beings. In the case of this exhibition, I focus on Japan because this is where I happened to begin my exploration of the subject, but it is a subject that is relevant on a global level, and shining a light on these issues is our collective responsibility beyond any cultural or physical border." 

Through photographic works and installation works with mixing Japanese traditional items, the exhibition suggests the question of whether Japan will return to the pre-COVID society that Pacheco captured, or keep the way of working has been reevaluated since the COVID-19.

A photo book of the same title will also be available at the exhibition. Pacheco's first documentary film, "Salaryman," will also be included in the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in San José, Costa Rica.


Artist Statement

Growing up in Costa Rica I always had felt I needed to escape the small town I lived in to make it as an artist.

I moved to NY to be a photographer, but I ended up making a living in post production for fashion, retouching.

Working in an office was the exact opposite of what I set out to do.

After a couple of years, my visa got denied and I was forced to leave New York. On a whim, I gathered all my savings and flew to Tokyo.

I was drawn to salarymen immediately. The way they moved through the city looked to me like an army of men in suits.

I was stunned when I learned it's frequent to see salarymen late at night sleeping on the sidewalk. When I first saw these men in suits just lying in the street, for a second, it looked like a murder scene. Like a corporate murder.

Upon asking the locals, they shrugged it off and pointed to the fact people get drunk and miss the last train.

Though this seemed like a sound enough explanation, I felt there was more to the story.

I thought it was really interesting that it was common. And that it was so common that nobody found it interesting.

Somehow, I saw something of myself in them that reminded me of my work in NY… But I couldn’ t quite place it because we’ re so different...

At that point, I was already documenting salarymen in my street photography but I decided to take my investigation further. I wanted to get to know them better. So I shifted my focus to interviews… and not just after work, but in their homes, and in their lives.

By combining my photography/art background, and taking a leap into the unknown territory of filmmaking, I wanted to paint a broader and deeper picture of salaryman life.

I was obviously an outsider, but I was interested in what we had in common, especially how work had shaped our lives.

The first time I saw a salaryman lying on the street, I projected onto him all sorts of meanings.

As often happens with documentary film "the truth" is seldom a fixed conclusion, there are no concrete answers, and the investigation ultimately leads to a journey of self-discovery. Through documenting salarymen and pressing to understand their lived experience, I was able to find answers on a personal level. Learning from others, investigating our differences and similarities is rich territory for dialogue. Since we spend most of our lives working, understanding the nature of what and what it does to us and to our families is an important place to start. If we are unhappy with these answers we can then ask ourselves how we are willing to enact change for the better.

We are all salarymen in one way or another – that’ s the truth.

A valuable lesson I learned in making this film was that when things feel dark, when we start to lose ourselves along the way, there are exits all around us, we just have to look for them.

Allegra Pacheco, 2023

 GALLERY MoMo 両国では、5月20日(土)から6月17日(土)まで、アレグラ・パチェコによる個展「Dear Salaryman」を開催いたします。




 「コスタリカでも、他の国でも、過労死はありますが、オフィスではなく、バナナやパイナップルの農園で起こっているため、過労死と意識されることはないのです。ホワイトカラーの中産階級ではなく、貧困層で起きていることなので、私たちは眉をひそめることはないのです。実は、労働者の搾取は、利益率や生産性が人間の命より高く評価される場所で起きているのです。 この展覧会では、たまたま私がこのテーマを探求し始めた場所であるため、日本に焦点を当てていますが、これは世界レベルで関連するテーマであり、これらの問題に光を当てることは、文化や物理的な国境を越えた私たちの連帯責任です。」とパチェコは述べています。






写真家になるためにNY に渡りましたが、結局ファッションのポストプロダクション、レタッチ作業で生計を立てることになりました。オフィスでの仕事は、私が目指していたものとは、正反対でした。
















2023 年 アレグラ・パチェコ

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