A Conversation with Kensuke Yamada
1.) Your upcoming exhibition, Wind Bears Color to Bring Charm, consists of large three-dimensional female portraits and standing female forms. Do these whimsical women have identities? Do they represent broader humors and struggles of all peoples’ lived experience?
First of all, I am lucky to have Jayson's support with this exhibition of my work at The Nevica Project. Even though I have not been there, closing my eyes and picturing the space inspired an idea for the show.
The exhibition is not about the individual figure. Instead of filling up the space with 20 figures, I wanted to see the way wind runs through the space between figures. I also wanted to see the way skirts sway to create colors that generate musical whimsy in my figures. So I do not have a particular reason why I made female figures for this show, but it seems like my female figures can dance better with wind than my male figures.
2.) Though placid in facial expression, the colors you utilize in these young women explode with visual volume and personality. What factors do you consider when selecting a color pallet?
It is like painting on canvas. Painting starts when you are building the canvas. Clothes we wear are chosen based on the event of the day. You layer yourself, starting from being naked to 20 more layers so that you will fit into the theme of that day. I wish we were like bugs, birds and other creatures and did not have to change our clothes in order to express ourselves. I layer gesture, expression, and color on figurative sculpture to fit the theme of the idea. Color composition will create action and movement, bringing rhythm and temperature into the room, and hopefully it will find a way to connect with the audience.
3.) You have described utilizing clay as a method of communication. Has your growing aptitude for English altered your visual communication in clay?
In my opinion, art is a form of language that connects me with people. Choice of materials is the same as choice of language in my eyes. I will speak English to you if speaking Japanese won't work, and I do not mind using wood, metal, or any other materials to communicate with you. But I think clay translates myself better than my poor English.
Some people chose to run, write, speak, dance, play music, and I happen to do art to engage myself with world. I can speak English well enough to buy coffee but I still enjoy learning new a language called clay/art in order to engage with people. Sometimes the one language I don't know works better than another way of communication. I speak Japanese, English, and Clay and enjoy these various ways of communication.