Ryosuke Yazaki: Chijyo

M+ is pleased to announce Chijyo, Ryosuke Yazaki's first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition runs from June 29 through September 1, 2017, with an opening reception on Thursday, June 29 from 6 to 8 pm


Ryosuke Yazaki's ancient crafts shape the most modern bodies, their colors like the faded flags of nations not yet invented: futurist denims and pierced midnights, old bone and sunburst sherbets. They billow and curve from carved wood and terracotta, cluster and angle into unruly crystals and galactic flora, ancient architectures from advanced civilizations. They're always ever bent just enough to be handled by humans rather than merely erupted from caverns or blossomed from alien landscapes. Then again, who can tell what minerals might cluster with these dusted skins or grow in gravities and atmospheres yet discovered. Some bodies here bend out of marshmallow sheets or curve into fourth-dimensional pillows. One curls into a flower that then melts into a tongue. However otherworldly, they move with a force that's simply and powerfully natural.


In graceful definitions, Yazaki lists the specific qualities hidden behind the lovely words of his materials.


Hinoki - Very fragrant, straight and easy to carve wood, used for houses and baths in Japan.

Sawara - A kind of cypress, fragrant, soft, easy to carve and reddish. Used for baths.

Kusunoki - Camphor wood used in traditional Japanese architecture, Buddhist sculpture, and cabinetry. It is used especially for chests, drawers, and boxes as it naturally repels insects. Aromatic, easy to use and carve.

Tonoko - Powder used to seal wood; it is mainly used as a foundation of the surface before painting

Gofun - White paint made from seashells

Yamabuki - A yellow paint named after the Kerria flower


Fragrant woods and seashells and flowers. The title for the show, Chijyo, translates to "above ground." Whether growing up or mined out, either definition works. It would be easy to associate the natural tactile beauty of Barbara Hepworth's carvings or Isamu Noguchi's stones, space colony landscapes from 70s sci-fi illustrative speculations with colors from the lively squiggles of Jonathan Lasker. One or two of these sculptures wouldn't look out of place in the background of Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. These sculptures can also exist as purely what they are in color, form and material. Such shapely works can carry as few or as many meanings and associations as you want.


Born in the 60s in Japan, Yazaki follows his grandfather as a master carver, studying in England and later learned a thing or three from computer graphics. Those unearthly shapes from digital design inform the skeletons that Yazaki shapes into souls, but they are all made by hand and designed out of the materials themselves. "I mainly draw the movement of the particles making up the shape," he says "like a skeleton, and make it like a life. It expresses a solid form, such that a soul can be felt from an abstract consciousness."


Perhaps they are abstractions, but they most certainly have soul.


Ryosuke Yazaki (b. 1965, Tokyo) received his fine art degree from Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan. After traveling to England to study sculpture, he returned to Japan and had solo exhibitions at Tateshina-kogen Art Museum, Nagano, Japan; Galileo Okabe, Tokyo, Japan; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Ginza Art Hall, Tokyo; and Smith's Gallery, London. He has received awards from Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Kuukanjikugunzo Art Mirai Grand Prize and the Tokyo Parliament Award. Ryosuke Yazaki lives and works in Tokyo. 


To download the complete works list, click here


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