Most of my work stems from my interest in people’s relationships. I have a deep interest in the ambiguity of spiritual connections between people… the fluctuating ebb and flow… the layered projections of identity that people “transfer” onto each other. Based on these ideas I depict figures of people and shapes of objects, using the fabric-dying technique of batik to define lines by the boundaries and interstices of the wax.
Furthermore, within this process of making work, I have become interested in, and am attempting to create, the “transferring” of certain images onto other media using light, film, mirrors and projection and reflection media. utsusu, the Japanese word for transfer, has various meanings – reflection in a mirror, for example, or the printing or reprinting of words on a page, the transfer of color or dye, or the succession of title, wealth or power. By focusing on acts of transferring that take into account such diverse meanings, I have chosen to work in several media forms, including gelatin silver printing and trace-drawing.
Techniques of depicting
I chose wax-resist dyeing techniques in order to explore the act of the wax itself resisting.
In batik, the melted wax is put down before the dye is applied to the fabric. I apply the wax by brush around the areas where I wish to create lines. The line thus becomes the gaps between the wax. I have chosen this restricting process to embrace the distinctively beautiful expression it alone can yield… using wax with dye to reveal graceful human figures via delicate lines built from the gaps between the wax. This process for me means thinking about the relationships that exist between human beings; visualizing the act of tracing invisible, ambiguous boundaries; taking slices of time from the everyday fluctuations of human interaction and sublimating them into lucid expressions of the subtle beauty of their relationships.
On the act of “transferring” – What is it in people that I am trying to transcribe?
I am interested in a person’s desire or craving to transfer another person’s appearance.
By “another person’s appearance”, I mean those faces or appearances of people that memory calls up, or things that do not actually exist but that one imagines as seeable. In other words, what I am regarding here as the transferring of another person’s appearance is something that arises from a person’s desires or cravings, not from superficial appearances and shapes. It could be someone’s outlining of the figure of a loved one – a family member, friend or lover – in order to retain traces of that person’s appearance, for example, or a married couple who have a portrait made to show their relationship and keep images of each other’s appearances, the transferring of bodily fluids of a deceased person onto cloth so as to leave a trace of that person’s existence, or other acts of repeatedly transferring to media even if that “transfer” becomes something far removed from its original appearance.
This interest has led me both to the kind of work I have produced for some time – the dyeing-based pieces and the works made with trace-drawing, mirrors and photography, and projection and reflection media – and also to the gelatin silver printing on plate glass that I have been engaged in since my period of study in Berlin.
The motifs I transfer through dyeing – Cupid and Psyche, unstrung bow in hand; portraits in profile of the deceased; silhouetted shadows of lovers now gone – impart incompleteness and impossibility. Each refers to its own meanings, and is in itself something barren of function, or containing motivations that must be transferred, even though one is cognizant of the impossibility of doing so. I am interested in people’s desire or craving to engage in transferring, and that is what motivates my creative work.
2016.08.22 Yukiko Nishiayama