Interview with Yumi Yamazaki 2020

Yumi Yamazaki is currently holding her first solo exhibition in a year at Gallery Seek.

We spoke with her!

-This is your first solo exhibition in about a year.

The world has changed so rapidly that it became a good opportunity for me to reconsider what I can do as an artist and what I want to convey. It was a good opportunity for me to reconsider what I can do as an artist and what I want to convey.

I experienced several exhibition cancellations.

I felt the importance of being able to present my work, and what is unshakable even in the midst of a torrent of change. I feel that I also learned how to be flexible and try to flow with the current.

Under such circumstances, I have come to want to paint works that are not merely pretty on the surface, but that ask questions and give viewers a chance to think, that evoke a sense of hope and life as a human being.


-What is the theme of this exhibition?

I experienced a complete change in my daily life, and I feel as if the way I see the world as a person and as an artist has suddenly changed color.
I decided to use this experience to create a space that is different from the colors of the world as we normally see it.

I wished to fill the venue with works in red as a symbol of life force.
That is why the subtitle of this solo exhibition is “scarlet.

The motifs of water and fire seem to be contradictory, but I feel that they share the same image of “purification” and “rebirth.
The color of the flowers, the color of the skin, the gender… I would like to remove all stereotypes and think about them once again.
All things are two sides of the same coin, and we can also say that they are opposites of each other.

The Color of Flowers S3

What is important is to hold on to one thing that cannot be dyed
I believe that the important thing is to hold on to one thing in each of our hearts that will not be dyed.

I hope that through my work, you will feel a pleasant sense of discomfort, a memory of a past experience, or ambivalent feelings.


-What do you want people to see most in your work?

First, I want you to feel the space as a whole, then look at the parts and details, and think about what you find strange or interesting.

I am using a double technique this time as I did last time, so I would be happy if you could look at it from all angles and feel the changes and the depth of the colors.


-What are the criteria for Professor. Yamazaki to change the technique for different works, such as “paper,” “silk,” or “double structure”?

I express ambivalence and ambivalence by using a double structure, so the theme and meaning are significant. For me, it is not a superficial issue such as matiere, but a technique to express a theme.

So I would like to continue to change.

This time, I will also exhibit a work with a mirror on the bottom and silk on top.

It is a little difficult to understand the image, but I have painted it so that it becomes a single painting, including the false image reflected in the mirror.

Crow’s-ear flowers bloom only at night.

I have long been drawn to this motif because of its quiet beauty.

I chose this technique to express the image of the everlasting, unbroken line of flowers in the darkness.


-What kind of image did you have in mind when you painted this large work, “Jyoka” (No. S50)?
I painted a combination of female figures in a raft of cherry blossoms.

I wanted to create a sense of scale, so I decided to use the largest size ever used for this technique, No. 50.
Originally, the image of cherry blossoms alone would be white or pink, not red, but by dyeing it red, I removed the stereotype once and for all.

I painted this work in the hope that the viewer would be inspired to think about the impossibility of such a world.

In a world where movies and dramas dealing with gender issues and themes are on the rise, this work is also my determination to include such themes in my own expression.
The color red represents the strength of life energy, a woman’s inner strength, and glamour, and the title “Johana” (meaning “purification” in Japanese) refers to the meaning of being “purified” by being released into the water with many petals floating in it.
I feel that this work was born from my experience in an uncertain world, so I am very attached to it.

Joka” S50

-What originally led you to become interested in gender issues and themes?

I have always had a longing for strong women.

I have seen many movies, books, and novels with such themes.
Some of the old classics include Gone with the Wind and The Samurai’s Tale, which has recently been made into a TV drama.

In recent years, I have experienced and felt the difficulty of living as a woman and as a writer, and the anguish of making choices and decisions, which has led me to become particularly interested in gender issues.
The MeToo movement and other movements that have taken place around the world have made me think that I could express and convey something as an artist by depicting images of women that are not only beautiful, but also contain strength.


-In the previous interview, you mentioned that you were aiming for a “fusion of Japanese and Western styles.

Basically, I have not changed, but I would like to pursue the possibilities and depth of two-dimensional painting in my own way with a broader sense of flexibility and flexibility, without being bound by Japanese painting or techniques.

For the Corona Vortex, I created an Amabie-style work using a different technique than usual.

When I heard that Amabie-sama appeared in the form of a shining light, I decided to create this work because it fit the image of the gentle light of candles.

I drew her as a goddess in the hope that she would watch over us in the light of day and in the darkness of night.


-What do you usually do when you are not working?
When I am not creating art, I enjoy viewing art, so I visit exhibitions of existing artists and art museums at a fairly regular pace.

If there is an exhibition I want to see, I go to the Kanto or Kansai area as much as possible.

I am interested in not only paintings, but also contemporary art, crafts, and sculpture.
Although I am careful to maintain a balance between input and output, I am such an art fan that I sometimes spend half a day in an art library to immerse myself in art.

In addition, I also teach art classes to children and adults of all ages, which is my job and my way of learning.

Through painting, which can be said to be a common language, the fun, objectivity, and diversity of connecting with people of completely different environments, jobs, and ages can be a learning experience that keeps me from becoming complacent.

Also, there are often days when we go on a tour of exhibitions after class.
I like people, but since I usually tend to be withdrawn in production, I learn in communication with others in the classroom, and furthermore, I enjoy viewing the exhibitions while carefully considering them alone.
Such a day makes me happy.


-Do you have any new dreams or goals?

Since my participation in the 2020 Art Fair Tokyo was postponed due to its cancellation, I would like to continue to aim for domestic and international art fairs.

For that purpose, I would like to present large works using themes and motifs common to the world.
The exhibition space itself.

Another dream is to have my works used in books and packages.

-Finally, please give a message to those who come to see your works.

The theme of the work and the space should have been found only at this time of the year.

Whatever your feelings may be, we hope you will be able to feel and think about even one of them.

Thank you very much.


Thank you, Professor. Yamazaki!

The solo exhibition will be held from Friday, November 6 to Sunday, November 15.
The artist will also visit the exhibition on November 14 and 15.

Please come and see more than 10 new works.


For previous interview, please click here↓.

Yumi Yamazaki Solo Exhibition -scarlet
Friday, November 6 – Sunday, November 15
Venue: Gallery Seek
Artist:Yami Yamazaki
Artist Visits:November 6(Fri.), 7(Sat.), 8(Sun.), 14(Sat.), 15(Sun.)

Yumi Yamazaki has been attracted to objects with duality and ambivalence for a long time. Light and darkness, life and death, ambivalence. The way she expresses these things in her paintings with the double structure of silk and Japanese paper shows a new frontier of Japanese-style painting. In her first solo exhibition at Gallery Seek in a year, she will present more than 10 new works under the theme of “-scarlet-,” with red as the color.