Giulia: In your work distortion and blur have a significant role and it’s clearly visible since the beginning, when you started with drawings on paper. Why did you decide to use this technique? What meaning has distortion in your practice?
Yugo: There is something called the simulacra effect. It’s a phenomenon where, if there are three dots, the brain associates it with a human face. A process that has led to the creation of the emoji. When there is distortion or blur, humans try to correct it, and subconsciously follow the brushstrokes and colors in a picture. By doing so, you can incorporate elements of motion into a painting that is more an image. In that sense, I’d like to paint works that are more like images. Now that we are too used to seeing videos, I think these forms of expression have more reality.
G: Can you explain the process you follow with your painting? The technique you use creates abstractions. Sometimes the silhouettes you paint are not any more recognizable, they become abstract geometric shapes, losing the figurative aspect. In this way, nudes, flowers, mountains and faces are put on the same level. Have you ever considered using geometric shapes instead of the realistic ones?
Y: I think this leads to the topic of geometric shapes, but at the bottom is an interest in transient things, or things that are elusive. Even a color is, in essence, a kind of wavelength of light, and you could say that according to the laws of physics, everything in the natural world is constantly changing. So, as you say, I guess I do put everything on the same level, no matter what motif I’m portraying.
G: Your past works take inspiration from the human body and I guess they all come from portraits you find online or through the media, but in the residency you’re doing in Spain I see that the nudes disappeared. Natures is now part of your subjects. Can you tell me how did you decide to focus on a religious theme like a typical Spanish procession that takes place during the “Semana Santa”? What has caught your attention during that specific event? Y: I was looking for something that I couldn’t paint elsewhere. I didn’t want this to be a residency where I simply painted what I had always painted in a different location. However, three months is too short a time to get to know the climate and culture of this place well. I thought that choosing a traditional, religious ceremony like the Semana Santa would allow me to get to know this place on a deeper level. I guess you could say that this ceremony certainly had enough of an impact to make me feel that way.G: The technique you’re developing here involves a new palette of colors and the perspective is absent. How do you feel about this new evolution?
Y: Regarding the palette, I don’t think there are any ugly colors, any more than there are beautiful colors. All that exists are correlations between colors that are beautiful, and correlations that don’t look beautiful. Therefore, the palette is affected by the theme, and by the motifs, and because I want to actively embrace that, my palette is forced to undergo a change at the same time. As far as perspective is concerned, it’s more an issue of composition. If you want to introduce an abstract element, you just have to destroy the perspective at some point. If I keep the perspective intact when I paint, the abstract elements often end up as nothing more than background for people. I want to make it more complex.
G: I think it’s a clear rupture with your past works and the photographic aspect has a fundamental evidence in these landscapes. How did this new experimentation start? Why did you change your usual way of painting? Y: I’m always looking for new possibilities in terms of techniques and materials. I think that changing one’s technique can also be described as acquiring a new technique. I believe that adding to my inventory and increasing my range will also have a positive effect on the techniques that I have already been using.
G: How’s the experience of a residency abroad? Lumbier is totally different from Tokyo. What are the advantages and the disadvantages of being isolated from the chaos? Y: I’ve lived in Tokyo for about 15 years, but I was born in a rural town that is not so different from here. I was there until I was 18 years old, so I believe that the both aspects—the big city of Tokyo and the countryside—have cultivated my sensibilities. That has helped to give me a range of values and ideas. In that sense, I think that sometimes it can be a good thing to put yourself in a different environment. I think the biggest advantage is that I can really focus on my work. Being isolated also allows me to face me to confront myself. There’s the Internet and social media, and you can gather information, but I guess the disadvantage is that it takes too much time and money if you actually want to see something with your own eyes.