In her first solo show at the gallery, Yuli Yamagata presents 18 new pieces that establish complex relationships between painting, sculpture, and the viewer. Over the past few months, the artist looked closely at the oeuvre of David Lynch, bringing to this body of work something of the intangibility of the filmmaker. In her words: “I’m interested to see how the mystery unfolds. Something one can’t understand but is there. I like the pieces not to be immediately absorbed. The work doesn’t linger in itself but within the viewers.”
Unconnected to a linear narrative and expecting a functional daily routine that never comes, Yamagata appropriates the uncertainty and makes this suspended place her test field. Making the work comes from tactile experience, the construction of fragments and volumes that create corporeal images that project themselves from the canvas. Seaming is key to her pictorial lexicon. Yamagata employs systems to explore the tension between plane and three-dimensionality — an eventual stretch of the threads transforms into a scar, fabric scraps are cushioned, providing the canvas with shape and volume.
In Sweaty Dream, a velvet, silk, and spandex relief engender the image of a massive skeleton that, though dead, stares at flowers blooming from the ground. An overwhelming scenario that reflects upon current times set between shape and sensoriality. The lack of distinction between dream and reality, featured in Japanese mangas, conveys those compositions. Yamagata also dives deep into her Japanese roots as she revives the ancient Japanese technique known as shibori (popularly known as “tie-dye”). The cyborg theme, the half organic and half cybernetic, gives some works their titles and permeates their coming into being. In Cyborg at Work (2021), for example, a muscular arm made of spandex cushions is sewn-on to contrast with the artisanal surface of the tie-dye background.
Drawing and painting, cutting, and cushioning various fabrics — such as silk, crepe, and velvet — bring new challenges to Yamagata in this body of work. Insomnia (2021), which gives the exhibition its title, combines sewing elements with fragments of bodies and monsters frantically drawn on the canvas. Playing with hyperbole and its disposition to absurdity, the artist never ceases to surprise, assail, and baffle the viewer.
Yuli Yamagata (São Paulo, 1989). Lives and works in São Paulo. Noteworthy solo shows include: Nervo, Mac Niteroi (Rio de Janeiro, 2021); Bruxa, Madragoa (Portugal, 2020); Microwave Your Friends, Invitro Gallery (Cluj, Romania, 2019); Tropical Extravaganza: Paola & Paulina, SESC Niterói (2018); Stickers Album, CCSP (São Paulo, 2016); Sem Cerimônia, MARP (Ribeirão Preto, 2016). In September 2021 she will have a solo show at Anton Kern Gallery in New York.