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.
Yumiko 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.
Yumiko Utsu, Squid Mask, 2010
Yumiko Utsu, Octopus Portrait, 2009
Yumiko Utsu, Octopus Eye Cat, 2009
Yumiko Utsu, Snow on Romanesco
Told you it was a quick post!