Surreal images examine series of recollections through deconstructed sculptures. 

Yuichi Ikehata’s haunting works incorporate pieces of daily life to challenge “distinction between truth and reality.”

Yuichi Ikehata, 'Fragment of Long Term Memory (LTM) No. 4', 2014, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

Yuichi Ikehata, ‘Fragment of Long Term Memory (LTM) No. 4’, 2014, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

Japanese visual artist Yuichi Ikehata constructs three-dimensional sculptures of clay, wire and paper before photographing the final image. The results are stark, reminiscent of science fiction or apocalyptic narratives. As the artist told Art Radar, these fragmented objects offer the audience a chance for reflection:

Unfinished, broken and poorly made objects give the viewer something to think about. An object in decay may stimulate the viewer’s imagination more than a finished work.

Yuichi Ikehata. Image courtesy the artist.

Yuichi Ikehata. Image courtesy the artist.

Ikehata was born in Chiba, Japan in 1975 and graduated from Tokyo’s Sokei Academy of Fine Art and Design in 2001. His work has been exhibited in Japan and was included in London’s FLUX Exhibition at the Royal College of Art (2015) and +81 Gallery’s “Vol. 65” show in New York City in 2014.

The artist’s monochromatic work delves into the “complex” mind of one of Japan’s “contemporary designers”, as was noted on +81 Gallery’s website:

Yuichi Ikehata’s photographic works navigate seemingly opposite but intimately linked paradigms of reality and non-reality.

Yuichi Ikehata, 'An Observer's Report No. 19', 2014, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

Yuichi Ikehata, ‘An Observer’s Report No. 19’, 2014, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

In addition to working purely with black-and-white compositions, figures are largely unidentifiable and sexually ambiguous. Information trumps a vibrant splash of colour, as Ikehata relayed to Art Radar in an interview:

For me, individual colours are not as important as information. I prefer to express this in a simple way and accomplish this by presenting my work in an unfinished-like state before painting it. In addition, I prefer to make the individuality of the object itself anonymous.

Yuichi Ikehata, 'Fragment of Long Term Memory (LTM) No. 6', 2015, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

Yuichi Ikehata, ‘Fragment of Long Term Memory (LTM) No. 6’, 2015, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

Ikehata’s recent work has been broken into two series “An Observer’s Report” and “Fragment of Long Term Memory”. According to a statement issued by Ikehata, “An Observer’s Report: is a series depicting a fictitious character who “wanders the boundary between truth and fiction”:

We live from moment to moment in a mix of truth and fiction that we consider to be reality. The distinction between reality and fiction is a relationship such that we require one in order to recognize the other, and at times they are so closely connected that we are unable to distinguish the two.

Yuichi Ikehata, 'An Observer's Report No. 18', 2014, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

Yuichi Ikehata, ‘An Observer’s Report No. 18’, 2014, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

According to the same statement, the second series “Fragment of Long Term Memory (LTM)” looks at the often forgotten and jumbled pieces of everyday life that are “reconstructed” and pieced together by the artist as “surreal images”:

Fragment of Long Term Memory (LTM), an ongoing photographic series, conveys an unrealistic world through fragments of reality. My understanding of reality comes from its moments of beauty, sadness, fun, perfection, and those days when nothing special happens. Many parts of our memories, however, are often forgotten, or difficult to recall. I retrieve those fragmented moments and reconstruct them as surreal images.

Yuichi Ikehata, 'Fragment of Long Term Memory (LTM) No. 2', 2014, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

Yuichi Ikehata, ‘Fragment of Long Term Memory (LTM) No. 2’, 2014, archival pigment print. Image courtesy the artist.

Behind these two series is an artist who seeks to understand his place in the increasingly complex modern-day world. Ikehata’s final note to Art Radar touched upon his interest in “negative things” while embracing the bigger picture – beyond life, beyond death:

I always feel an uncertain anxiety. I find it important to have this anxiety stimulated by negative factors and feelings surrounding the uncertainty of existence, because by feeling my own existence as small and unstable, this in turn will lead to my recognizing a vast world and being in awe of it.

Lisa Pollman

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Related Topics: human body, Japanese artists, memory, mixed media, photography, sculpture

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Brittney

By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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