Interview: Yuko Kokubun
Luca Curci talks with Yuko Kokubun, the winner of ARTIST OF THE MONTH – FEBRUARY 2023.
Yuko Kokubun is an artist based in Tokyo, Japan. She earned a BFA in oil painting in 2008 and a master’s degree in art anatomy in 2010, both at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Her interest in the body, spatial art, and playground equipment began when she was a member of the rhythmic gymnastics club in high school. Since her university days, she has been taking workshops with various dancers, including Butoh dancers, examining dance methods, and exploring how to incorporate various elements of performing arts into painting. Major exhibitions include Soft Compulsion (Tokyo, 2022), Paranoia Concerto (Tokyo, 2019), Brave New World (Tokyo, 2017), VOCA Exhibition 2020 (Tokyo, 2020), and the exhibition for the 16th Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art (Kanagawa, 2012). In recent years, she has worked as a curatorial staff member at art festivals and in art galleries, and she has experience in art management for exhibitions and large-scale productions.
Luca Curci – What is art for you? Yuko Kokubun – Working to explore the depths of the world.
LC – What are you currently working on? YK – Under the concept of “Earth Theatre,” recently I created mainly Paintings and collages.
LC – Among the several techniques you use, which one do you prefer to practice and which of them are most compelling for you? YK – Under the concept of “Earth Theatre,” Kokubun has recently used mainly collage (pasting together meaning and meaninglessness) to create paintings as anatomical stage works, in which various parts of living creatures and designs created by human culture are cut up into small pieces and arranged in a narrow space that resembles a stage. The act of cutting up is a way to explore new possibilities by freeing the form from someone else’s standards of value, which were designed with some intention, photographed, and recorded in printed matter. All of these are “memes” of the DNA of cultural information, and cutting them up frees us from the daily clutches of our various conventions and value judgments. Kokubun’s anatomical collages follow the festive structure of the performing arts, which combines various races and cultures in all directions, affirming the existence of all those who take the stage.
LC – What are the three hashtags essential to define your poetics that you could not give up? YK – #contemporary circus #performing arts #Anatomy
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks? YK – Creating a distorted space in a flat plane.