Interview: Yoshito Ikeda
Luca Curci talks with Yoshito Ikeda during BARCELONA CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR 2021 at Valid World Hall Gallery.
“I was born in Tohoku, Japan in 1973 and spent his childhood in Chiba. The university enrolled in the Department of Oil Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, and holds a PhD from the same university’s graduate school. I was based in Tokyo, but since 6 years ago I have moved to Hiroshima and have been presenting my works. When I was in college, I mainly used sound for production, and after that I started using video and photographs. Currently, in addition to video, I make works using various media such as paintings and installations. I participate in many exhibitions in Japan, Belgium, Italy, China and other countries”.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Yoshito Ikeda – I mainly create works with the theme of memory using video and photographs. Video is a media that can decompose and reconstruct the context freely along time axis. As movies do, images allow you to notice the possibilities and impossibility of memory representation. Every time a memory is recalled, it updates the current and re-contextualizes. I am interested in stories generated by such memories that are going backward and their possibility of sharing.
LC – What is art for you?
YI – It is the most effective medium that brings empathy and is indispensable to us.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
YI – The experience of his father’s death in 1999 and his two grandmothers dying of Alzheimer’s disease has had a major impact on my subsequent work. Until then, the theme of my work was various issues related to communication between people, but through the successive deaths of close relatives and Alzheimer’s disease, the relationship between the memories of oneself and others, and the process of memory generation. It was a great opportunity to consider the possibility of sharing memories.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
YI – Over the last 20 years, the production style hasn’t changed much. I consider memory from various aspects and use images and photographs to create it. Before using the video, I was making a sound installation. If we cut down our communication to the utmost limit, it becomes audio information such as voice and visual information of light, or tactile perceptual information such as heat. It can be reduced to vibration. The vibrations can be heard, seen and touched. I made a minimalistic way of communicating such information using speakers. In recent video works, I have produced a series of trailers for fictitious movies. The trailer is a promotional material for a movie that is about 1 to 3 minutes long, but the impressive scenes are extracted from the main story and the time axis is also assembled separately. That is why we imagine the content of the movie. This is, so to speak, an image detonator that allows us to create a story on our own. The trailer is very interesting as a device to create such a new story. Currently, I am focusing on the memory and history of places and regions.
LC – What is your creative process like?
YI – Start video production from drawing and research. Impressive and strong images are created by drawing. Daily drawing is indispensable. In addition, depending on the work, it may be necessary to listen to the stories of local residents in order to incorporate the memory and history of the region into the work beyond the personal memory. For example, “aquatree 2” is a work that projects an image of a fish swimming in a forest, but it was inspired by the story that a small river is flowing near the projected site and there is a huge fish in that river. The fish photographed is a fish that lives in this area and is designated as an endangered species. I wanted to see the fish jumping out of a narrow river and swimming leisurely in the woods to see how they are certainly incorporated as part of the natural cycle. The shot footage is mainly edited using Adobe After Effects. Perhaps because I used to use sound to create works, I feel like I’m composing music when I insert sound into the background of the video.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
YI – It is to create time for the viewer to create a new image. This image may be rephrased as a story, memory, or time. It is also important that the interpretations that can be received from the work are as diverse as possible. The work is a simple form of such layers of interpretation that are layered on top of each other as a stronger one.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
YI – It is a past work.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
YI – I didn’t know there was a theme. However, I think that the work has something to do with all issues and is open to everyone.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
YI – I think it’s a big hub where artists can connect with more people.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
YI – I think so.