Recently, I saw that was featured on “You Arts”, which prompted me to submit a post about another shadow artist, Kumi Yamashita from Japan.
Where Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s art is in the vein of pop art, Kumi Yamashita’s art is the opposite. It’s understated, tranquil, and poignant.
But Kumi Yamashita is so much more than just a shadow artist. She also makes portraits by stamping shoe prints onto bedsheets, and wrapping thread around nails hammered into painted white wood panel. She’s an incredibly creative and thoughtful artist.
Kumi Yamashita’s art functions as the visible reminder of invisible art. From simple beginnings, she invites us to reassess the unpredictable relationship between what we expect to see and our actual perception. Much of Kumi Yamashita’s artwork is constructed with everyday things such as alphabets, building blocks, thread, nails, credit card rubbings and light installations. As a result of the process these ordinary material objects are transformed into arresting yet elusive images. Separate pieces may connect together in a shadow, and a simple piece of paper can create an endless variety of profiles. Kumi’s methods and materials go beyond the confines of traditional media, transforming one medium into something else. For example, footprints on a sheet compose a face; blocks of various heights cast a realistic human shadow; a single piece of thread creates a subtly modulated portrait. With great attention to detail, Yamashita’s works are exhaustively complex and precise— yet they remain deeply human.
Building Blocks, 1997
Someone Else’s Mess, 1997 (shoe prints on bed linen)
City View, 2003
Question Mark, 2003
Seated Figure, 2008
Constellation- Mana, 2011 (This body of work consists of three simple materials that, when combined, produce the portraits: a wooden panel painted a solid white, thousands of small galvanized nails, and a single, unbroken, common sewing thread.)
Chair no 2, 2014