Yuko Shiraishi, July 2016
The human body and the senses are a very important theme for me. We are surrounded by all kinds of space, each exciting in its different way – space defined by the size of the human body, space determined by the senses and then space as it stretches outwards into the universe.
My Space Elevator Tea House (2009), Netherworld (2013) and Peep Box, Confession Box, Peep Show, Confession Show (2010–11) were poetic explorations of architectural spaces determined by and confining of the human body – tea rooms, tombs and confession boxes. An artist whose work reflected an interest in the human body and its physical size was the American minimalist painter Agnes Martin. At first her canvases measured 72 by 72 inches, but later she reduced them to 60 by 60, explaining that this was because her body had shrunk. This strikes me as very interesting
Peep Box, Confession Box, Peep Show, Confession Show (2010–11) is an exploration of what is not only an architectural structure determined by the size of the human body but also a psychological space charged with secrecy, guilt, sin and inhibition. I am fascinated by the way the act of confessing in a confined space is similar to the voyeurism of a sex show. The confession box of my work functions as a window through which to peep into the world within, the intention being to draw attention to human fascination with peeping into dark and hidden secret worlds.
In my new work shown for the first time in this exhibition, I look at electricity, magnetism and electro–magnetic waves. In Netherworld (2013), which was inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, I looked at the relationship between life and death, and how the death of one star leads to the birth of another, which is to say how the energy of life and that of death co–exist in a world of nothingness. Magnetic Wave (2016) is a poetic visualisation of electro–magnetism, which is both invisible and intangible. In the past my interest in electricity, magnetism and electro–magnetic waves has sometimes been reflected in my paintings, particularly those of my Signal Series in which I explore cells, sounds, marks, points, dots and stars. I See You See Me is another abstract work that reflects my interest in how, like electro–magnetism, there is an energy that attracts people to each other, or how there are spaces that make one feel uneasy and others that make one feel good. I am fascinated by the inexplicable forces, both simple and complex, that cause the push and pull of space–time and the instinctive interactions between people.