A Rendezvous Between Artists, Viewers, and Artworks | Interview with Sachiko Kamiki at "Encounter" Duo Exhibition
The duo exhibition by Sachiko Kamiki and Yuyelai explores human emotions and the meaning of our existence, with Kamiki taking a third-person perspective and Yuyelai exploring human emotions through an atavistic approach. It has been two years since Kamiki held a solo exhibition at the Taipei gallery. Has her creative style and mentality changed since?
Kamiki's art has previously featured bold and vivid colors. But her new paintings depict black silhouettes posing as if to inspect their own bodies, or staring uneasily into the distance displayed at the "Encounter" exhibition held at Whitestone Gallery Taipei.
"Cardiac" (2022), 162.1×130.3 cm, acrylic on canvas
Encounter: A Rendezvous Between Artists, Viewers, and Artworks
ー What was your creative approach for this exhibition?
Kamiki: Since this is a duo exhibition that involves myself and another artist, I created the artworks with a third person in mind represented by the figure in my paintings.
During the creation process, I repeatedly spent time drawing subjectively as I wished, and objectively studying and inspecting the work. Figures in my paintings are a figurative depiction of a person that conveys various feelings and personalities through characteristics other than their facial expressions.
Exhibition installation view with Kamiki's works in the foreground and Yuyelai's works in the background.
ー This is your second exhibition in Taipei after your "Tetrad" solo exhibition back in 2020.
Kamiki: The last time I visited the Taipei gallery, I felt like I was able to have an intimate conversation with the paintings despite the spaciousness of the venue. That left a lasting impression, so for this exhibition, I decided to depict simple, minimalistic figures to allow the viewers to take their time to have a dialogue with each painting.
From left to right: "Middle", "Right Side", "Left Side" (2022), 162.1× 97.0 cm, acrylic on canvas
Discovering the Beauty of Negative Space during the Pandemic
ー In your previous exhibition, your artworks featured people and plant life dynamically painted in a variety of colors.
Kamiki: My previous exhibition in Taipei was held during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when everything was changing drastically. The world had become a somber place, so I decided to use bright colors as much as possible.
Before the pandemic hit, Japan was getting ready for the Olympics, and there was a lot of excitement so I chose a juxtaposing stance by going with a more serious theme. But when the world turned upside down, I decided to create uplifting art, which is why my paintings naturally featured brighter colors.
Installation view of Kamiki's 2020 solo exhibition "Tetrad" held at the Whitestone Gallery Taipei
Close-up view of "Day Off" created in 2022. The different colors that contrasts with the black figure becomes apparent when viewed up close.
ー In contrast to the previous exhibition, your new paintings feature simple compositions and chic color schemes. How has your art changed from before?
Kamiki: More than the colors, I have become more conscious of negative space.
The artist Tetsuo Mizu once told me that "negative space is the most important thing" after seeing my paintings. At the time, I had no idea what he meant, and his words remained in my mind for a long time. Constantly thinking about those words has made me more conscious of the negative space in my paintings.
It's not about deliberately putting more effort into a painting, but understanding the meaning behind that effort. Even today, I am still trying to unravel the mystery of negative space.
From left to right: "Lie Down", "I Know" (2022), 145.5×112.1 cm, acrylic on canvas
ー Along with the negative space, the way you depict people seems to have changed as well. Your paintings for this exhibition feature characters in distinctive poses. How do you decide on the composition of your paintings?
Kamiki: For this exhibition, I made it a point to draw simple characters. I usually decide on the composition before I start on a painting, but it gradually falls apart and changes along the way. But that kind of unexpected change is usually the most interesting.
ー Do you normally make sketches or drafts of your composition?
Kamiki: I usually do a lot of preliminary sketches before I begin painting on the canvas, but not a single piece at this exhibition turned out exactly how it was supposed to (laughs). I had a change of heart for some of the paintings that were about 90% completed and had them redone.
ー Did you start over on an entirely new canvas?
Kamiki: No, I repainted on top of the nearly-finished painting. I kept the original silhouette of the figure and changed its posture to redefine its inherited shape which gave it more character.
ー So you made use of an unintentional occurrence to create the painting?
Kamiki: That's right. I don't know if this painting method will last, but that's how I'm creating my paintings right now.
"Figure" (2022) was originally meant to depict a figure facing forward, but was redone to make it face away from the viewer after Kamiki had a change of heart.
In the past, Kamiki's style has been characterized by the symbolic motifs painted in bold and vivid colors. However at this exhibition, the figures became simple compositions that seem to embody essential elements of character-building such as personality, emotions, and time. What will viewers discover from the artworks in this chance encounter between Kamiki and Yuyelai? Visit the gallery or view the online exhibition to find out.