Yuko Sakurai: wood - paper - indigo

8 September - 14 October 2023

On the occasion of the Season Opening of the galleries in Frankfurt we present new works by Yuko Sakurai.

Opening: Friday, September 8th,  6 pm

The artist will be present

Opening hours during the Season Opening:
Friday, September 8th, 6 - 10 pm
Saturday, September 9th, 11 am - 6 pm
Sunday, September 10th, 11 am - 6 pm

Further information about the Season Opening:

Yuko Sakurai

Although colors, color contrasts, and the application of the paint have always played a crucial role in her work, Yuko Sakurai certainly does not consider her pieces as paintings in the classical sense. In her view, the works can instead be construed as three-dimensional, sculpturally shaped objects, meaning that materiality, haptic qualities, and spatial presence likewise have a critical impact on the overall effect. For Sakurai, her close preoccupation with natural materials and traditional craft techniques strongly influences the creative shape of her works.

In what is now Sakurai’s fifth solo show at Galerie Friedrich Müller, three different work groups are on display. First, there are new examples from her series of works with oil paints and pastel chalk on handmade Yokono paper, a project she has now been evolving for several years. The unusual combination of impasto paint and wafer-thin paper gives rise to exceptionally sensitive forms that enable us to follow the careful process by which the layers of paint were applied. As she gained more experience in this technique, which she herself developed, Sakurai’s works on Yokono paper have over time become ever more refined, detailed, and subtle in terms of color gradations.

In a second group of works in oil, she applies the paint to wooden panels that she discovered in her hometown of Tsuyama in a carpentry workshop that had been abandoned for decades. To her mind, this historical wood stores time, bringing to mind the woodworking industry’s past in this region. The wooden panels are mainly irregular in shape, departing from the rectangular, and she sees them as invaluable relics whose individuality she emphasizes and honors with her sensitive application of the paint.

With her third work group, Yuko Sakurai departs in a completely new direction, using textile materials dyed with Japanese Indigo. An acquaintance who is deeply versed in the old tradition of making this natural dye taught her the arduous process of creating indigo by fermenting knotweed. Into the dyed linen objects she has woven and sewn horizontally running, wave-like lines of linen, silk, and cotton threads of different thicknesses, giving the textiles a multilayered materiality. She has given them the title “Sea of the Earth”, alluding to her astonishment that a plant-based pigment that has grown in earth can become a most intensive blue liquid that invariably brings to mind memories of the ocean.

Peter Lodermeyer