– by Wendy Robison “Art is the purest expression of passion.”
– Yuko Yamamoto
Interdisciplinary artist Yuko Yamamoto conceives and practises creativity in many languages – paint, fibre, ancient ‘Yuzen’ wood-block, printing-making, text, performance art . . .
“I wanted to explore, experience — not reject — different ideas and cultures – sound production, sculpture, movement in performance, directing in performance, making sound from my drawings. Tradition kills uniqueness.
When I was 4, my mother took me to an art tutor. Also, I took flute lessons. And I loved to climb trees. I wanted to jump higher than high.”
Being risky generates an aura of power and that power Yuko experiences in the creative act. Yuko believes it is in the process of being utterly honest, intense, human, that art achieves authenticity. And this process illuminates for Yuko the fundamental desire to be a human being. “I open myself to you.”
Born in Japan, Yuko studied and practised as a clinical psychologist. During graduate studies at the Arts Institute of Chicago she transposed to performance art. “In North America, I found an openness, a generosity to explore creatively.”
Emigrating to the Cowichan Valley, Yuko and Hiroshi and their two daughters live in a wild mountain garden, yellow Leopard’s Bane dancing up the forest drive. Yuko has opened herself to the Valley’s vibrant life: offering workshops, bringing visiting Japanese artists, engaging with many local artists, arts groups, galleries, and in experimental creative projects, working with Providence Farm. Click here to see the video.
She travels often to Japan, connecting with Japanese artists, curating exhibits and teaching, taking Canadian visiting artists to study and share in Japanese culture. Twice, Yuko has arranged for the extraordinarily vital octogenarian Master Koyama to teach, in Valley studios, the ancient Yuzen wood-block printing technique used in kimono-making. Click here to see the video.
As a performance artist, Yuko participates internationally. Performance art, she emphasises, uses a body that is not trained to be an art object, exposing the body directly as the art material. Performance art is not acting. It’s creating physically with the body to expose one’s Self in beauty and authenticity. It must feel utterly truthful.
“The most important thing about performance art is feeling everything is right about one’s body: loving oneself. It hurts and it heals. It pulls the pure passion of madness into art.”
Yuko’s curatorial work in Tokyo, when Vancouver Island artists Cathi Jefferson and Gloria Daley showed their works. The articles explain how they successfully interacted with local Japanese people.