Biography

Born in Kanagawa, Japan, 1982 Lives and works in Tokyo

In Praise of Shadow” , an installation that Sei Yamazaki introduced in 2018, was an experiment in an attempt to be free from the general concept of “letters have to be fixated” and to give letters a space and time context. The installation that is made of delicate Japanese paper (washi) does not use ink, which is generally associated with fixating letters on paper. The letters on the paper will appear through the moving material and light as if they were leaking into the air. Where did the letters come from? A sheet of paper with cutout letters is placed in between two sheets of washi paper, and, only when the sheets are lit from behind, the shapes of letters can be seen. The dim lighting of the exhibition space maximizes the effect of the installation lighting, while also making the edges of the temporary letters look blurry. The installation entertains you with a story of the letters as they are disappearing into the air. Just like the lighting changes, the sound and scent also change, and they create a harmony with one other to offer you a breathtaking experience.
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As you can see in “In Praise of Shadow” , Sei Yamazaki is an artist who is in constant search of the “absoluteness in relativity” and converts his findings into shape. By shifting general beliefs in the relative society we live in (for example, in the case of “In Praise of Shadow” , it was the belief that letters had to be fixated), he attempts to find something that is essentially absolute, by which he means concepts that belong in “a life that wasn’ t lived” . In other words, it is about finding and casting a spotlight on options that weren’ t chosen for one reason or another in the evolution process. When it comes to expressing concepts in “a life that wasn’ t lived” , nature has always been the biggest inspiration to him. In Japan, since ancient times, people have believed in the existence of myriads of gods and deities. Unlike the monotheists in the West, Japanese people have been in awe and respectful of everything in nature. As an artist who was born and raised in Japan, Sei Yamazaki has always considered nature as an absolute existence that is out of his control, and this is why he put his effort into developing a relationship with nature and studying how he could portray nature by arranging flowers and ink-painting. And now, he considers nature as the ultimate relative existence with survival instinct, which is the most primitive absoluteness. When crating his work, he tries to incorporate the accidental power of nature, which he considers as the ultimate relative existence. This is why he used light, shadow and washi paper, instead of ink, for “In Praise of Shadow” . He wanted to include accidental factors that he could not control in the piece. The new project he is currently working on is called “Composition for Y axis (tentative)” . In the world that consists of an X axis, Y axis and Z axis, if we free the Y axis, which only exists because of gravity, from gravity, what shapes will we get? And what changes will we see in the balance between the three equivalent axes? He is in the midst of trying to figure out a new way to portray “absoluteness in relativity” and “a life that hasn’ t been lived” in his artwork.