Much of the artist’s works for this show is a direct reflection of man’s need of having a rightful place somewhere where he can express his spirits in full comfort. This is a paradox in both a positive and negative aspect, since one’s search of a homely place is both excruciatingly lonely but somewhat gratifying in a romanticized kind of a way. It’s like everything is meant to fit into a certain place, and the journey of a person towards that group is beautiful in terms of eventual belongingness but somewhat sad in a way that we are all classified into categories, into stereotypes. Like all things abstract and indefinite, it all just boils down on how one sees something depending on perpsective and personal judgement. Either way, this continuous sense of displacement is probably what keeps us alive anyway, so as humans we just keep on walking.
Atsuko Yamagata presents a very strong sensitivity towards the things around her, and quite possibly, her bond with different existing cultures is what makes her work stand unique. Her process is very delicate, she takes her time to allow her work to breathe and have a soul of its own. She focuses on eventual randomness over and over until the artwork starts to speak for itself. According to the artist, she is very interested in uncovering creatures and spirits form her paintings. And it with this belief, that all things possess a distinct spiritual essence, she tries to excavate between the layers of images in her works to unearth the hidden stream of life that has been flowing inside it. Her art situates itself in the context of this ritualistic system of belief, and naturally it becomes a direct link between her and everything that surrounds her body.
The show has a large installation of paperworks hanging from the wall that creates the illusion of floating, almost like a flock of lost spirits in search of a new home. The suspended artworks are created from handmade pina paper made by a Japanese paper maker from Benguet. The other pieces lie on the pedestal earth bound, as if these creations are the physical, temporal forms of the spirits hovering in mid air.
The body is the point of departure for spiritual development. The greatest secret of life is encased in every living thing, every object that’s alive or at least creates a attempt to mimic life. This is what the show is all about–Departure, Passage, and Discovery.
— Dave Lock