Born in 1982, Sei Yamazaki is a multi-media artist based in Tokyo, Japan. He showcases exhibitions and installations across the world. Yamazaki works around the theme of finding and casting a spotlight on elements that weren’t chosen for one reason or another in the evolution process. Yamazaki is the founder and director of Seitaro Design, Inc., radio personality of FM Yokohama “Culture Department” and the Creative Advisor of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Organization Committee.

UNIT FOR Y-AXIS” is a series of 5 work published in 2019 by Sei Yamazaki. In the X-axis, Y-axis, and Z-axis that make up this world, given that gravity is present, what kind of shape would be created if the existing Y-axis is released from gravity? What kind of story begins in the three equivalent and balanced axes? It is a work of a series that attempts to re-examine these three axes that are held as absolute concepts in society.
Yamazaki placed focus on the Y axis is because he believes that all forms of evolution depend on the X axis in this society. Because gravity is present and the Y axis on earth is sandwiched between the ground and the sky, that is, things that cannot be controlled, humans may have tried to evolve on the X axis. For this reason, he aims to depict an unprecedented story that releases gravity and allows the Y-axis to once again play the main role. Thus, “UNIT FOR Y-AXIS”, depicts the manipulation of gravity and time.
In order to a shine light on the Y-axis, each piece of work masks part of the canvas, creating a space where gravity and time have stopped. In addition, the time of other parts starts to move. First, a layer that expresses a common time as a medium that catches time is drawn. The pigments are repeatedly layered over each other. It is painted once, left to dry for a few days, painted again, and left again for a few days. Time has different rhythms depending on the work. It could be set for one day or for a period of 10 days. Thus, layers of different times are layered on the canvas. Ink painting techniques are also used, creating an appearance similar to a lunar crater or volcanic crater.
When creating this work, he intentionally uses pigments without solvents. Normally, it is necessary for a pigment to be dissolved in some kind of solvent, but with this method, the pigment is liberated from gravity on the canvas. The pigment is gently fixated with a highly adhesive spray material and further layered with pigment. Freed from the concept of “fixation by solvent”, he attempts to depict a new time axis in the work by manipulating happenstance.

Yamazaki is an artist who consistently seeks and shapes “a new absolute within relativity”. It shifts the seemingly absolute concepts in society (e.g., in the case of “UNIT FOR Y-AXIS”, the concept that the X, Y, and Z axes that comprise this world are equivalent; In the case of the installation work “In Praise of Shadow”, the concept that written characters must be established by ink) and attempts to reveal what is essentially absolute. Another way to describe this is an “unused time axis “. It is a work that “discovers a time that was not selected for various reasons during the process of human evolution, creating a novel story and shining a new light on it”.
It is continually the existence of “nature” that is important to him when depicting the “unused time axis”. Japan has had the concept of believing eight million gods since ancient times. He felt awe somewhere in nature and has superimposed it on the concept of absolute beauty. As he was born and raised in Japan, while regarding nature as an absolute being out of control, he believes that its story is dormant in all things and he has been pursuing the relationship with nature and how to depict nature through flower arranging and ink painting.
When he creates a work, he attempts to receive the incidental power of nature as the ultimate relative. For this reason, the three works in “UNIT FOR Y-AXIS” utilize natural organic matter such as a driftwood, tree branch, and lotus. These are a symbol of time that is crystallized for him. By painting them with ink and surrounding them in rubber, the crystallization time is once again abstracted. This is also a process for depicting a new time axis, and is an act of incorporating happenstance into the work, not under his control.
Assisted by the power of nature and happenstance, he continually attempts to depict ”the unused time” in this world by doubting relativity and drawing new absolutes out of it. The works released from the Y- axis reflect various worlds depending on the viewer. It is similar to the sea, similar to the universe, and similar to an overflowing river. The appeal of his works lies in the fact that there are infinite interpretations depending on the viewer and that the world looks somewhat different after viewing the works.
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