Yumiko Utsu

A quick one from my recent London peregrinations: Yumiko Utsu‘s solo show at Michael Hoppen Contemporary. I knew nothing about the artist before entering the gallery and i’m now such a convert that i watch the intro of her website in loop almost every day.

0aa0akoalalal.jpgYumiko Utsu, Flower Eye Koala

Combining the intricate techniques of food photography with the anthropomorphic tendencies of manga, Utsu has an affinity for kitsch. But instead of taking a strictly documentary approach to the Japanese relationship with food and the natural world, she uses fruit, vegetables, and seafood to construct surreal fantasies populated by kittens with octopus eyes, pineapples full of owls, and phallic carrots. But by using the visceral, perishable products of nature to reinvent such imagery Utsu goes further, undermining the antiseptic values of the genre, pricking its glossy surface with a shudder of amused repulsion. By exposing the strangeness of manga’s visual strategies she also reveals our complex relationship to the natural world and to our own bodies – at once sensual and comic, tinged by eroticism, disgust, and desire.

Utsu-Yumiko-pigozzi-collection-788.jpgYumiko Utsu, Squid Mask, 2010

yumiko_utsu_octopus.jpgYumiko Utsu, Octopus Portrait, 2009

0aoctooopey88.jpgYumiko Utsu, Octopus Eye Cat, 2009

7cca4627b187c77a1f5fea64035c12d3.large.jpgYumiko Utsu, Snow on Romanesco

Told you it was a quick post!

Yumiko Utsu’s show is at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London (google map) until 19.02.11.