We only respond to the love we feel we can afford and end up suffering because of it. Because we mirror our hopes, passion, fears, and insecurities on the one next to us, we try to fix our partner’s life before our own. We see love as a prison sentence and believe that abandoning all hope for something better is the only way to survive. Expectation only breeds deception.
Harumi Hironaka is a Peruvian-Japanese illustrator living in Brazil. Her work captures the despair of women who have stopped hoping for better days. They’ve been disappointed too many times by men who promised them the world yet only made them miserable.
Gone are the days of tears and misery over this deception. Still, the ghost of heartbreak continues to haunt them with memories of that failed relationship.
There are millions of stories like theirs. We all have our own tale of disappointment from the one we trusted and believed in. Hironaka portrays that fatigue through the women she draws, gaunt beautiful bodies of decadent muses who, despite their fair appearance, share with us their suffering.
They look at us with their big eyes but never seem to focus their gaze. They’ve blinded themselves against pain by imagining a past that never happened.
Despite the sense of futility in the work, the artist still manages to show sensuality in the women she draws. There’s a sense of paradox when we see these naked bodies confronting their own pain.
It’s a curious blend of eroticism with melancholy. At times it seems as if sex resides between these two concepts, particularly in relationships doomed to fail, where the only thing keeping the two people together is pure sexual magnetism.
“Romantic Love is only an Illusion. A story one makes up in One's Mind about Another Person.”
Perhaps Harumi Hironaka’s works are best understood when placed next to these quotes by Virginia Woolf. The author herself was someone who experienced the pain of being a woman in an unfair world and was only able to escape by sinking into the bottom of a river.
Satisfy your broken heart fix with these books on the ordinary aspect of love. Read the story of the woman who went to oblivion to find her reality.
Translated by María Suárez