Yukiko Sugiyama

Silvana S. Foundation Commission Awards 2020 Finalist - CRASH




My most iconic art works, I have been working on a photographs + installation project since 2017, titled “CRASH”. “CRASH” series does not refer to incidents or accidents, instead it represents the mutual relationship between nature and artifacts left behind by humans. These artifacts are represent the culmination of technologies, abandoned to natural environments. These machines that have been thrown away after being judged not valuable anymore by people, could only surrender themselves to the environment. Despite this dystopian world, similar to a sci-fi novel, this afterworld, provides a glimpse to a truth rarely seen. By discovering these artifacts, literally “foreign objects” in the natural world, and usually found in very remote locations, I try to photograph them similar to human faces or viscera, appealing to the viewer’s humanity. In my photographic process, I use infrared cameras and drone. Digital cameras can visualize some subjects that human eyes can not see or interpret differently. My most iconic art works, I have been working on a photographs + installation project since 2017, titled “CRASH” series does not refer to incidents or accidents, instead it represents the mutual relationship between nature and artifacts left behind by humans. These artifacts are represent the culmination of technologies, abandoned to natural environments. These machines that have been thrown away after being judged not valuable anymore by people, could only surrender themselves to the environment. Despite this dystopian world, similar to a sci-fi novel, this afterworld, provides a glimpse to a truth rarely seen. By discovering these artifacts, literally “foreign objects” in the natural world, and usually found in very remote locations, I try to photograph them similar to human faces or viscera, appealing to the viewer’s humanity. In my photographic process, I use infrared cameras and drone. Digital cameras can visualize some subjects that human eyes can not see or interpret differently. I use the infrared camera to separate and visualize abandoned machines as “artificial objects” and “natural objects” such as plants and trees. Specifically, using an infrared camera, allows me to depict chlorophyll, pigments in plants’ leaves, in white, which visually amplifies the gap between the artifacts and the plant materials. This process allows me to express my concept that stresses the contrast between “expired technologies” and their decay to the “living of plants” which surround them. Because I consider environmental field works, that are possible to be made happened by artists who can move, have to cut out the subjects, that can’t move from there by themselves, artists have the power to inform true stories from the fields to many people.

My theme is ”Anthropocene”. I will be participating in the “The Arctic Circle 2021” program. This is a project where I and scientists board a sailing vessel to explore the Svalbard Islands. I think that is the pioneering spirits of mankind in their history of Arctic and Antarctic expeditions is the essential theme of their intention to project lives and humanity under an ultimate condition as well as their consideration on unprecedented adventures and science. Our curiosity generated from such acts entails aesthetics and philosophical thrills. I aim to experience the fact that Earth is the precious planet that embraces life forms in the universe and to record it by exploring the harsh environments of the Arctic and the influences caused by global warming. Specifically, employing a UV photographing technique, I will shoot dynamic icebergs, and minute creatures including snow algae which have been massively generated in recent years due to global warming. I would like to further zoom in the issue of global warming through visualizing Arctic minute creatures with UV photographing method for confirming life forms such as algae on the snow and in the sea. In these days when such giant icebergs are melting under the influence of global warming, we have to accept the facts that Svalbard is not permanently frozen grounds anymore and that they are the Pandora’s box for life forms. Using the methods of UV and IR photographing, I want to present new cycle of life in Arctic.

About the Artist

I was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1985, and graduated MFA from Sculpture Course (Kishio Suga Seminar) in Kanazawa College of Art in 2011. I am recently based in Kyoto, Japan. I began photographing when I had been building my sculptor career in 2017 and in the very next year, 2018, given a finalist award at an international art festival named KYOTOGPRHIE with my work of “CRASH” series. Thereafter, exhibited my work at “fotofever” being the satellite fair of PARIS PHOTO which work was later added to the collection of Mr. Jean Pigozzi who is a world-famous art collector. Recently, in Zurich of Switzerland, hold an exhibition jointly designed with Dr. Moritz Vischer who is an engineer and teaching at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. And I won a finalist in the German competition “The Independent Photographer”, by Judge Ed Kashi of National Geographic. Next year, I will be participating with scientists in the “The Arctic Circle 2021” residency program.