Yuko Sakurai / 桜井 由子
From Venice Biennale 2011 book Personal Structures,
I use “name from the place” for the titles of my woks.
My art is an expression of myself and of my memories from my travels and influenced by my daily life through time. When I travel, I use all my senses to experience each specific place and to internalize it. This means using sight, sound, smell, touch and taste along with all my emotions that are attached to that place. This sensitivity depends on the consciousness of my own life. I try to discover as much as I can and I am consciously using my curiosity to get more information. After traveling and when I find myself in a quiet place, I then recall those experiences and feelings from where I was. After that I start to analyze myself through those experiences and feelings in order to create an artwork: its size, shape, color, texture, layer, brush or pallet knife—these are some of the questions that I ask myself. I transform my thoughts in my art with these methods. I use my memory to create my artwork; however, these memories have been distilled by the self-analysis that is a crucial part of my creative process —therefore, I am also able to continue discovering myself through my art. It is important to note that I do not have any fixed rules or concepts for my choice of color, shape, size or any other formal element—I keep myself open to all options.
All the materials that I use have their specific volume and character. I want to be aware of those elements in my work. It is for this reason that I consider myself neither “monochrome” nor “minimalist”. Nor do I think I am a painter; I am a creator of three-dimensional objects.
When I apply a layer of paint on a surface, I am in a very strong state of concentration. I have to plan beforehand how I envision the end result; however, a lot also depends on the moment and the particular situation I am in when I am creating. Light, temperature and also my personal emotional condition are important, among other factors. I like to have good planning and to control my work, but it is also very important for me to have flexibility; to be able to adapt to the situation of the present moment. This is especially important as my works are travel documents that are based on experiences captured in the past but expressed in the present; my work is not just a time document as memory, it also includes the time that has passed since the moment of experiencing until the moment of creating.
My work is a kind of meditation. Each stroke is done very carefully and I continue it until the next stroke, until I finish one layer—I do not stop in between strokes. I create a color for each layer by mixing different colors. Even works that have the same title are very different from each other.
Having good light is very important for my work, because of the subtlety and the delicate nature of the surface, textures and colors that I use. Therefore, I prefer to use natural light and for that reason I do not often paint in the evening. I also prefer natural light for the placement of my work. The natural difference of the light moving through time allow my works to express a different atmosphere and I like to experience the movement of life through the light on my works, I want to experience the passage of time.