Artist Interview: Yuko Kamei

Yuko Kamei, a long-time Art-Byte Critique member, is a photographer based in Tokyo. In this interview, Yuko talks about how her other forms of artistic expression inform her creative and photographic practice and the personal nature of her work for In the Details. You can read more about Yuko on her bio page.

Explain your work in up to 40 words.
My works stem from inquiries on having a material body and thinking at the same time. The beginning of my artistic journey was in contemporary dance, especially Contact Improvisation, which its founder Steve Paxton describes as “dancing about physics”.

Could you talk about your creative process for responding to the theme of In The Details? Did your idea come to you right away? Did you have to experiment a lot?
Rock surfaces are the first thing that came up in my mind for “In The Details”, but initially I wasn’t clear about exactly where my ideas were at or how to make an exhibition around them. It took a couple months to create and select an initial set of works, and feedback from fellow artists at our regular ABC meetings aided me in deciding which ones to include.

What would you like people to know about your work?
In recent years I have been interested in the world outside the human realm, and visited several volcanic sites in national parks. There were many different types of ground condition such as solidified lava eroded by the sun, and bedrocks altered by volcanic water. By looking into the details of ground surfaces, I enjoyed imagining how the compositional ratio of earth elements results in different shapes and types of rocks, and how the latitude of the Earth affects their course of transformation. 

Last year when I attended a funeral, I was surprised upon seeing bones at a crematory because they had a colour similar to rock surfaces that I encountered at the top of a mountain. I was fascinated by the similarity, and my imagination flew to deep ocean trenches, the grand motion of plate tectonics, and the skeletal development that happens at an early stage in our life.

It is this sense of wonder, regarding planetary processes that occur similarly across bedrocks, organisms, and other artefacts, that I wanted to present in this exhibition. 

Along with photographs I am also showing “stones” which were collected at the shore of lakes and oceans. When you look into details you may find what they used to be and think about how they ended up in these forms.

An interesting thing about looking into something closely is that while your vision is locked in a tiny space, the physical relativity of your body and the subject diminishes, and your mind travels freely deep inside and goes beyond the material limitation. I am looking forward to seeing various artistic attentions to details and discovering how laws of nature operate in our multi-faceted world.