Yukiko Suto

“Trip – Zurich”

チューリッヒの家庭菜園 Kitchen Garden in Zurich 2022 Pencil and watercolor on paper mounted on panel 130.0 x 153.5 cm ©︎Yukiko Suto

I recall first seeing Yukiko Suto’s work at takefloor in 2004. While hard to tell whether they were landscapes or not, houses, gardens, and plants were depicted in what could be described as an accurate manner. Portrayed in a neither symbolic nor fetishistic way, the subjects unfolded evenly across the picture plane. Permeating with a refreshing air of pristineness, the works harbored an openness that enabled one to imagine people actually inhabiting these spaces. I hope viewers will take the opportunity to truly experience the world of her work.

Tomio Koyama

Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to present Yukiko Suto’s solo exhibition, “Trip – Zurich.” Marking the artist’s first show with the gallery, the exhibition features a selection of around eight new works.

【About Yukiko Suto and Her Works: Inspired by the Beautiful Scenes of Everyday Life, an Intimate Connection Between Her Mind and Art】

Yukiko Suto was born in 1978 in Kanagawa Prefecture. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic Design from the Department of Design at Tama Art University in 2001, and currently lives and works in Kanagawa.

From old houses and gardens to weeds growing in parking lots, an elementary school swimming pool and so forth, Suto has meticulously painted beautiful scenes of everyday life that she encountered while walking down the street and found herself emotionally inspired by. Her works quietly convey the excitement she had experienced at the time, as well as the way in which she felt even her own heart to have become beautifully rejuvenated.

As exemplified by her own words such as “Paintings reflect one’s mind and heart” and “Seeking beauty (in the place where one was born, raised, and live) means acknowledging and embracing one’s current situation,” a significant characteristic of Suto’s work is the way in which expression and the artist’s mind and identity are intimately connected.

Her medium of choice is pencil, which she feels most comfortable with. The pencil is a medium that fulfils her various artistic desires from its slightly bluish color to its texture, the effects achieved through rubbing, the faint traces that remain after erasing, and the possibility to draw things in elaborate detail. Suto draws connections between the color of the pencil and her experience of being raised in a residential area lined with grey concrete buildings, while the line drawings themselves are influenced by the comics and anime that she has been familiar with since childhood.

Each motif is carefully captured individually, and the combination of flat landscapes without shadows gives rise to a uniquely oscillating sense of perspective and exquisite reality. The sections here and there that are painted in watercolors are parts that left an impression on Suto, and this coexistence of monochrome and color serves to further incite the viewer’s imagination.

Masahiro Yasugi, Chief Curator at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, states as follows regarding Suto’s work.
“Many people are convinced when they see Suto’s works, not so much because they are familiar, but because they terrifyingly reflect the very nature of our perception in a truly precise and essential manner.”
(Nostalgia and Fantasy: Imagination and Its Origins in Contemporary Art, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, 2014)

Suto has participated in numerous exhibitions both in Japan and abroad including, “The Japan Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition (Curated by Momoyo Kaijima), La Biennale di Venezia” (2018), “Late Autumn Weeds Exhibition” (107 S – CHANF, Switzerland, 2019), “The Sense of Wonder: into another garden” (Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, 2020). Her works are housed in public collections such as The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Yokohama Museum of Art, and Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, as well as in numerous private collections across the globe.

Please see here for further details: https://www.yukikosuto.com/

【About the Exhibition “Trip – Zurich” and the New Works】

Up until now, Suto has mainly engaged with residential areas in Japan as motifs. Her new works in this exhibition, however, are of places that she encountered during her strolls around the city of Zurich when she was visiting Switzerland for a solo exhibition in 2019. Fascinated by the way in which human activity and nature had harmoniously coexisted within the landscape, she decided to depict places that had particularly brought her comfort and peace of mind.

Apartment in Zurich
Pencil and watercolor on paper mounted on panel
56.7 x 120.0 cm
©︎Yukiko Suto

Suto herself states as follows regarding the exhibition.

Every place in every country is home to those who live there. Thinking that it would be possible to extend one’s home across the world in removing the “I” as the subject, I decided to depict the remarkable everyday landscapes of Zurich.

In the city of Zurich, there is a lush green park right next to a big train station, and people are leisurely bathing in the river near a junction where a series of main roads intersect. Seeing this, I felt that advanced human life and nature were in fact in close proximity to one another. Should one get tired from working, one can soon attain peace of mind, and be able to concentrate on work again. When engaging with nature, I gain a sense of calmness and composure, and my mind feels clear.

I believe that being strongly aware of what one likes leads to creating new and wonderful things.

An old house harbors the history of those who live there. Other people can feel that love, happiness, healing, comfort for oneself and for one’s family have been nurtured within its walls.

As for weeds, I was impressed and found beauty in the way in which they grow freely, each to their own accord.

However, when seeing the finished works, I was surprised to feel a little scared, as well as an air of tension. When I was working on this series there were many things in life that brought me distress, so in retrospect I realized that I chose to paint scenes that had healed my heart. The paintings were truly a reflection of myself.

I hope that those who view these works will be able to project their own thoughts and feelings onto these scenes.

Yukiko Suto

The nature and scenery of Zurich, the small moments of happiness in everyday life, meticulous depictions and shifting emotions. Reminiscent of landscapes encountered some place before, Suto’s tranquil and detailed paintings instill viewers with the sensation as if being immersed in the presence and atmosphere of overlapping lines and time. We hope viewers will take this opportunity to engage with the artist’s unparalleled oeuvre.

For press inquiries, please contact: press@tomiokoyamagallery.com (Makiko Okado)