Interviews | December 22, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Fusako Yamamoto

Interview: Fusako Yamamoto
Luca Curci
talks with Fusako Yamamoto during the 17th Edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

Fusako Yamamoto began ballet at age four and later specialized in dance studies at Japan Women’s College of Physical Education and its graduate school. After graduation, she transitioned from the stage production staff to the world of ikebana, a traditional Japanese flower arrangement. She studied traditional ikebana techniques while also learning from contemporary floral designer Mami Yamamoto.

In 2013, Fusako Yamamoto created her original performance, “HANAMAI,” combining her dance background with her love for flowers. She collaborated with musicians, live painters, and artists of various genres, creating a diverse range of works. She received recognition for her films, including “Floaty Flow,” “White Light,” and “Turn Illness to the Light,” winning awards at international film festivals and screening in 35 festivals across seven countries.

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Image courtesy of Fusako Yamamoto

Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Fusaka Yamamato I do the original performance by arranging flowers while dancing. Flowers and plants are not mere things but they are one of the performers. Sometimes they dance with the dancer and at other times they stand still. Each tells its own unique story and gradually becomes part of Ikebana. At the end of the performance, a large Ikebana will be completed.

LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
FY –
I started learning ballet at the age of four. I majored in dance study in the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Japan Women’s College of Physical Education. I learned a wide range of dance including danceport, jazz dance, and contemporary dance. After finishing the master’s course, I worked in the art industry as a staff of stage production. One day I was impressed by an Ikebana I saw on a street and I got into the world of flower arrangement. I became a disciple of a modern flower designer Mami Yamamoto while learning traditional Ikebana skills. In 2013 I created an original performance called Hanamai which is a combination of dance serving as my own roots and the world of flower arrangement and started doing the performance. The encounter with dance at the age of four and Ikebana in adulthood made a significant impact on my life.

LC – Which subject are you working on?
FY – I’m working on how the identity as a Japanese can be made use of and it can be sublimated as a work of art. In the work I exhibit this time, I expressed the sensibility unique to Japanese in which we find the shadow beautiful, using flower arrangement and modern dance. I would like to create a work which reflects the beauty of Japanese culture.

LC – How important is the editing process in your work? How’s yours?
FY – The editing process is very important to develop ideas to work.

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Image courtesy of Fusako Yamamoto

LC – Is there an unrealised or unrealisable project, even a crazy one, that you would like to work on?
FY – I would love to do the performance in St. Mark’s Square, using lots of flowers in Venice.

LC – What are the three hashtags essential to define your poetics that you could not give up?
FY – #loveflowers #danceinthelife #dancewithflowers

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
FY – I’m inspired by nature, the earth, my child, plants in our garden etc.

LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
FY – I think the theme of the exhibition is the human body, mind, soul, and the structure of human identity. The theme of my work is the mind unique to Japanese, the structure of the identity, and aesthetic feeling.

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Image courtesy of Fusako Yamamoto

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
FY – The artwork shown in this exhibition is called The Lights of Eternity – Light, shadows and in between. In the work, I expressed aesthetic feeling unique to Japanese, using modern dance and flower arrangement. When I created the work, I was inspired by an essay called “In Praise of Shadows” written by a Japanese author Jun’ichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965). In the essay, he says “We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates” Japanese don’t find the thing itself beautiful. They make shadows where nothing exists and they find depth, atmosphere and beauty in the shadow. I think that lots of people will become interested in the feeling unique to Japanese beyond the countries and the borders. I hope you will enjoy the aesthetic feeling by watching the video

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Image courtesy of Fusako Yamamoto

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