‘Taste is neither good nor bad, it’s just taste’. With this statement, Yuli Yamagata replies to easy and superficial readings of her artwork as macabre, horror and disturbing.
Fantasy is what guides her as an artist instead, first in planning and then in realizing of her – complex – artworks, and fantasy is also what she invites viewers to use while observing and starting a relationship with them, moving in the exhibition space.
Often conceived as site specific, because of specific set-up needs, Yamagata’s work betrays a mix of rigor and refined attention to detail of Japanese tradition, combined with the kaleidoscopic imagery bordering on post-pop of Brazilian culture.

Fumaça, the smoke that comes out and rises from a common, precarious and improbable sock, which almost camouflages itself with the white space of the wall, is a complex architecture, a mix of pictorial and objectual elements, and reveals a magical conception of sculpture.
The sketch from which Yamagata begins to work is magical, in a potential and open to non-logical and sequential combinations and possibilities sense: the two-dimensional graphic sign escapes the characteristics of materials (resistance, ductility…) and, above all, the laws of gravity.
Once the objects are physically made, figures bordering on abstraction, the game, and indeed the magic, is making them stay fixed and motionless in space, while maintaining their innate drive for movement and a certain seductive and ironic precariousness.

What unites, wires, assembles and draws the different materials in space, is the thread used by Yamagata to sew and literally build her installations: fascinated by painting, without knowing how to paint yet, she uses abstraction and pictorialism in sculpture. The human body she dissects and reconstructs in her works gives rise to figures reorganized in volume and space. Charmed by the cinematic imagery of the nineties – such as Alien or Predator – she goes beyond the explicit violence that characterizes them for a sort of playful and intriguing sublimation.

Personal life is always the starting point of her work, conflicting emotions and experiences, joys and traumas, just like the life. And the artwork’s process of creating is almost psychoanalytic, there is no real goal, but one discovers, modulates and lets oneself be guided by intuition.


Yuli Yamagata
Fumaça, 2019
Lycra, sewing thread, silicone fiber, wire, cement and sock cotton, 200 x 30 x 30 cm
Installation view at Bergamin & Gomide Gallery, São Paulo, Brasil, photo by Ding Musa
© Courtesy the artist