Yu Araki »
Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2023
Exhibition: 3 Feb – 26 Mar 2023
The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Yebisu Garden Pl. 1-13-3 Mita Meguro-ku
Tue-Sun 10-18; Thu, Fri -20
I’m dreaming of making a feature-length fiction film one day (and this is why I call myself a filmmaker rather than an artist). Since I do not have any formal training as a film director, I have been making films in my own way, without really knowing how to do it properly. Being the amateur that I am, what I rely on is the experiences that I have gained over the years, working as an interpreter and translator, studying sculpture and media art, and also the know-how that I have acquired in the performing arts field. My “films” are works in which all these skill sets come together, and which I have been privileged to show outside the cinema context. I must confess, though, that my works are nowhere near being truly original, because I still feel as if I am imitating my influences. In other words, they are merely copies.
Imitating others, and being far from my ideal self, I am attracted to things that are somehow imperfect. Take the Statue of Liberty souvenirs that you find in New York City, for example. They come in all sizes and colors, and if you look at their faces closely, you will notice that they all look slightly different (while the "MADE IN CHINA" label adds another layer, and makes you wonder how many of the craftsmen who made these have actually seen the real thing). I may be stretching a bit, but appreciating these formal differences is like enjoying the versions of 007 or Batman, played by different actors in the past. It is also very interesting to realize that the term “casting” is used in both a sculptural and a theatrical/cinematic sense, because in a way, the image of the character is created by “molding” an individual.
I have somehow always been interested in such superfluous details, the excess rather than the essence, the parts that overflow from the casting mold. Through the production of this new work, I have become convinced that it is precisely in these superfluous differences, that one-of-a-kind, unique individuality resides. As an imperfect person, I resist being molded or being labeled. As an imperfect artist, I have decided to stop aiming to make perfect imitations. As an imperfect filmmaker, I would like to cast light, project, and celebrate differences that do not necessarily fit into the mold. I hope my work will encourage audiences to free themselves from their social roles, even just a little bit. I dedicate my work in this Commission Project to my five heroes, who are at once the best and the hottest band in the world.