As part of an art exchange organized by See Saw Seeds, Yuuki Tsukiyama from Kobe Japan arrived in Dubai about a month ago. Finding himself in a strange city with 7-lanes highway, Yuuki found himself lost in traffic with a map in hand (google map anyone?) looking for art galleries. We catch up with this experimental artist from Japan and find out what he thinks about this cosmopolitan and glamorous Dubai.
What is your impression on UAE art scene?
I am very impressed with the diversity that have been displayed in galleries here in the UAE. There are art from Iran, sculptures from the UK, installation from the US. I have met many artists from around the region and also from other parts of the world. It is truly a pleasure to visit all the galleries here. Unlike in Japan, galleries here are huge!
How is this experience going to influence your work?
I am fasciated with Arabic calligraphy and typography. Because I don't understand Arabic, i approach them very differently. I can only “understand” them in their shapes and forms. Right now, i am working on an experimental art piece where I juxtapose Arabic sentences I find in newspaper and magazines. It will be on display in Tashkeel gallery on the 23rd November.
What is the most memorable thing you have seen/done in Dubai?
In Japan, around 98.5% of the population is Japanese. Here in the UAE, only 28% are Emirati. There are so many different nationalities here and they live side-by-side with each other. I have never seen something like this in any other places. It is very admirable.
Of course, driving on the other side of the road is very new to me! The roundabout is slightly confusing because we don't have them in Japan!
In 3 words, how would you describe Dubai to your family and friends back home?
Expensive, Huge and friendly. I really love the people here! Everyone I met is so friendly and helpful!
Yuuki Tsukiyama was born in Kobe City in 1976. He has studied sculpture at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and is now based at his own studio in Jobe, creating sculptures and taking part in various art-related activities - one of which is promoting cultural activities as the board of directions of the Conference on Art and Art Projects (C.A.P.).
Using a wide variety of materials such as wood, metal and paint, Tsukiyama places emphasis on "playing" with those materials to fully exploit and maximize their full potential. Don't let the expression "playing" fool you however, as the process in which he delves into the essence of those materials to bring out their best through the form of art can be extremely serious, let alone difficult to imitate. A good example is the installation he created in 2016 for his solo exhibition at GALLERY ASHIYA SCHULE where 406 squared wooden panels were conjoined side by side with each of their knots intersecting one another to cover the gallery space walls. As such, his works are often quite original and true to his values and obsession. " (excerpt from Mayumi Ito's introduction in the catalogue for 39/40)
[Artist Biography from Taskheel.org]