Soft Cell: The Comic-Influenced Textile Sculptures of São Paulo-Born, Yuli Yamagata
This past winter, one of the shows we quite enjoyed was Samba In the Dark, a group show at Anton Kern in NYC organized by Fernanda Arruda, Patricia Pericas and Nessia Pope. The title of the show itself came from a famous Brazilian protest song, Apesar de Você (In Spite of You), "written and recorded in 1970 by Chico Buarque at the height of the military dictatorship in Brazil (1968-1984)." One of the artists that stood out for us was São Paulo-based Yuli Yamagata, an artist who creates sculptural textile works that are both playful and reimagine a range of materials. The works are playful and almost comic-inspired, mixed with a very contemporary view of how sewing plays a role in our daily lives.
From her website: "The work of Yuli Yamagata takes as its starting point the lexicon of comics and visits to popular commercial centers – such as Brás and Rua 25 de Março, in São Paulo – where she puts together a mix of references that are equally diverse and ordinary: from prints with landscapes to animal prints, from crossfit attire to a profusion of running shoes. The convergence of such images takes the form of sculptures and paintings of heightened theatricality, in which pastiche and irreverence are resources to deal with issues of taste, consumption and self-image. Therein sewing plays a central role. In the beginning, the prints themselves suggested the shape, in a mechanism closed in on itself. In more recent works, however, the lycra colored surface gives volume to autonomous bodies with cartoonish contours. Lustful lips, slender legs and sharp nails form a very particular bestiary that, although anthropomorphic, never reveals itself completely. Grotesque, rebellious and deceiving, the creatures of Yuli Yamagata get to us by inciting discomfort and desire."