Bijutsutecho|Yuichi Hirako Exclusive Interview - The relationship between plants and humans

Jan. 02, 2020
Yuichi Hirako, a Japanese artist, with the theme of the coexistence of plants and humans. The idea inspired by the graduation project when he was studying at Wimbledon College of Arts in England. Created works after delving into the project, including drawings, sculptures, installations, sound performances, etc., and focusing on painting.
The exhibition “Memories ” is holding in Tokyo, Japan.


Reported By Bijutsutecho



Yuichi Hirako has presented works in a wide variety of media, including painting, sculpture, installation, and sound performance, with a focus on the relationship between plants and humans. In his new solo exhibition “Memories” starting on December 21st, he will also present a new series “Perennial” created from his own records. At Hirako's atelier, I asked about themes that I have been exploring and how to create works.

|    Continue to pursue the relationship between plants and humans    |

──Hirako has been working mainly on acrylic paint works, treating “the relationship between plants and humans” as a major theme. I went to England soon after graduating from high school and studied at the Wimbledon College of Arts at the University of the Arts of London. First of all, I would like you to tell me what happened.

While I was at school, I was trying a lot of things, so it was hard to pinpoint the theme. One of the drawings I was making for my last graduation project was one that depicts a landscape of plants and artificial objects. As I delved into this drawing, I came to appreciate the theme of plants and humans.

I was born in a rural area of Okayama prefecture and grew up in an environment with lots of nature around me, but after graduating from high school I moved to the UK and moved to a big city called London. London has many large parks, and many people come on weekends. One day, when I visited the park, I heard that people were saying, "Nature is good." I felt that my perception of nature was clearly different from the perceptions of those people. Since then, people have come to ask why they want nature so much, and what is the sense of nature in city life.

In cities, we create parks and other places where the landscape cannot continue without keeping and controlling the plants. There is nature in the city, but at the same time, I was very impressed and interested in the structure that could not be obtained without artificial control.

平子雄一(Yuichi Hirako)多年生植物2019年3月26日帆布和丙烯酸116.7cmx 91cm

──It is said that your graduation work was a drawing with a pencil, but the one with the greatest weight among Hirako's current works is acrylic paint. What made you start working on paint?

When I returned to Japan, I realized that my work was intuitively similar to Fauvism painting, so I started thinking that color was necessary. Also, there was a desire to make the size dynamically large. The theme of "the relationship between plants and humans" is expanding as we move to painting, and the scale of the work may be linked to the scale of the work.

止 め Drawing a large canvas directly on the atelier wall with a thumbtack also seems to be related to the expression of scale that he intended.

You can put pressure on the brush by sticking the canvas on the wall and drawing. When I put a canvas on a wooden frame and draw it, I have elasticity and I don't really like it. There are many different types of brushes to use, and some of them use strong brushes for drawing. In that case, use a strong brush with the hair tips cut off.

I feel that choosing this method is certainly related to the sense of scale. If you see the limit of what you can draw on a wooden frame, you have to draw within that range, and it feels too tight and close to a product. If you stick it on the wall, you can gain momentum, and when you stick it on the wooden frame, you also like the picture wrapping around the side, so I dare draw it off the canvas. That's more fun.


── It seems that the range of production has expanded from drawing to painting, but since around 2013 you have been actively working on three-dimensional works.

Painting is a very enjoyable medium for me. It is a medium that allows me to draw face-to-face with one-on-one and has a good understanding of the techniques and processes. However, when I saw it objectively as a viewer, I thought that painting might not be enough to enter the world. You may have created the limit yourself.

The two-dimensional limit still exists and you don't touch it, and you may feel what is being drawn is like beyond a wall. My paintings are concrete and have depth, so it's easy to create a gap with my world. Having two-dimensional works as well as three-dimensional works makes it interesting to create a space that cannot escape from the concept of the work, so I started working on three-dimensional works.

── Did your experience in 3D production affect your paintings?

If you make a good solid, you have to make a painting that excels, so a competition will be born in yourself. I think that I have enriched the expression of both painting and solid, but there are also myself who are strongly aware of the recognition of space by three-dimensional production, and when performing painting after the three-dimensional, I try to break Perth consciously.


── Drawing works using pastel are also produced, but they give a different impression to paint and three-dimensional works.

In the case of pastel, I make it more mindlessly. It's almost like a graffiti with very primitive movements in myself because I can make it in desk space with just my hands. As a concept, you may have your own personality.

── In the case of a painting, do you add elements and developments improvised during the production process?

As you create, key items such as vases and books grow in your head. We combine them improvised and seek out where the colors next to each other are the most comfortable. I often put them experimentally and erase them if they don't work. In my case, not only the concept but also the interesting thing that happens when you move your hand on the canvas or paper, it will not be good work. If you don't enjoy drawing, you won't get a good picture.

── What kind of interesting people, such as a combination of plants and humans, that appears in Hirako's paintings or is the motif of a three-dimensional work?

When I started working on the theme of plants and humans, I was drawing a combination of plants and buildings, but I came to think that that would just be a picture of the situation. What I find interesting is the behavior of humans against plants and nature.

The Brazilian Amazon's tropical forests are being burned, and this is largely related to the principle of capital seeking to extract underground resources to become economically rich. On the other hand, many people naturally have a desire to protect nature. Depending on human behavior, the way plants are treated changes, and the relationship changes accordingly. In other words, people have a relationship with nature. This is where I want to delve deeper, and I needed "he" as a character to symbolize this relationship.


──The pot is also a motif that Hirako often draws.

The vase is interesting as a form, but it also has the aspect of being a device that allows plants to live longer and maintain beauty. I noticed that a human dragged by beauty symbolized the forgetting of the cruelty of the act and was a very interesting being. In history, the vases themselves became decorative, but when compared to humans, it seems strange to say that the ventilator has a floral pattern or that the tube is pink.

── I have the impression that many colors are used in the work. Are you particular about the colors?

In order to connect colors in the scenery of the painting, I do not wash my brush much. If you do not change the water until you have finished drawing one piece, the overall tone will be more cohesive. I'm scared to get close to the illustration. The pallet also uses the largest size tapper that is sold, and as it is being drawn, it mixes and becomes one color.


── Are there any other artists except Yuzo Saeki?

I'm an artist of contemporary art, I guess Olafur Eliasson. "Little Sun" (2013) exhibited at the turbine hall of Tate Modern. I felt the power of the work when I saw that space where there were people relaxing feeling the nature of the artificial sun. It is really amazing to build that world view. It may be linked to what I have been thinking about plants and nature.

── Exhibitions overseas are also being actively held, and I think there are many foreign collectors. What kind of reactions are there from collectors in each country?

Many customers from Asia, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea first come from a character perspective. A picture with a strong icon seems to resonate. On the other hand, when I spoke to a German gallerist, I was told that the information was too strong. I think it's a resistance to the existence of a foreign object called a character in a work.

|    Nature in the unconscious, unconscious sorting and selection    |

I'm going to talk about a solo exhibition "Memories" starting December 23rd at WAITINGROOM in Edogawabashi, Tokyo. In your solo exhibition, you think about what you want to express in the entire White Cube. What kind of overall image and what did you try to present in this exhibition?

This time, I wanted to work on an area that I had not expressed yet and entitled `` Memories '' with the theme of `` plants and nature in unrecognized, unconscious '', one of the questions I have stocked Did.

This exhibition will present a new series called "Perennial". I wanted to deal with a lot of plants and nature, passing by unconsciously and recalling it. For example, I know that the details of Omotesando's street trees exist, but I don't really remember them.

This time, I decided to use my smartphone photos as a tool to handle such plants. If you count a photo that unconsciously shows a plant, such as a field in the background, a garden when you went to a relative's wedding, or something like that going back about three years, you take a picture that you consciously took It was reflected in just over 10% after the removal. I picked up the photos and expanded the image.

In addition, a turret-like thing as a symbol of the memory that accumulates in that way is placed at the center of the gallery, and the works are displayed around it so that various memories throughout the four seasons continue. The name "Perennial" in the series name means "perennial", but it also means that the relationship with the world and people that continues, and that your life will continue.

── "Perennial" is a new series, so there are some difficulties.

There was a difficulty in putting a solid visual called a picture into a picture. With a single photo, the amount of information to create a picture is too small. Since it is difficult to increase the number of visuals that can be read from photos, add related elements and keywords. Until now, it was often the case to draw from a large number of expanded elements, but this time, it was necessary to expand and draw from a place with few elements, which was a new challenge.

「The“ Perennial ”was created based on personal photos, but it seems that you may discover something new by connecting your personal parts to your work.

My work is sometimes called "Fantastic", but the theme and concept are extracted and combined from what is happening in the real world, so I don't have that kind of consciousness at all. In this work, I realized that I am making a work with a theme that matches reality.

Since my work has a visually strong world, I think that some people have the feeling that something that is not the real world is drawn, but I am happening around you I want to remind you of this. This time, I think it was tried with a slightly different approach.

Environmental issues are being talked about as a topic of the times, including the exposure of teenage Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg to media around the world. I don't think that the situation of society and the theme of plants and humans that he deals with are not irrelevant, but how do you see him?

As a premise, there are many things that act on plants and nature from nations to individuals based on unconscious and rational decisions. For example, discard unnecessary plants and keep necessary plants. Cut unnecessary forest trees and keep necessary trees as forests. I don't think many people are aware that such a sort is always present in them.

I want to focus on the fact that people and society are unconsciously selecting objects through their works. As for environmental issues, I think there are both possibilities, whether people's attitude will become severe in the future, or whether they will stop thinking and despise nature based on market principles, but first, there is Isn't it important to recognize that there is some sort of human selection?

Are there any expressions you would like to challenge in the future based on the above proposals?

Given the conditions, I would like to make a video work of a mockumentary (fake documentary). In Shikoku, there was a case where a lumber dealer who wanted a high-quality large tree withered away from the sacred tree at night and collected it. In this case, I would like to expand on the work of withering the sacred tree, which can be said to be a murder, and the interesting story of the call for capitalism, and make a work with a documentary touch. You may want to try a slightly more realistic expression of how nature treats things completely differently depending on the situation and people.


Period|Dec. 21 2019 - Jan. 26 2020

Opening hour|12:00 - 19:00

Location|Bunkyo Ward Tokyo 2-14-2 1F

Closing day|Mon., Tue., Holiday, 2020.01.01 - 01.07

[ free ticket ]



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