On Velvet

Since 2012, I have been involved in the series On Velvet, a series of velvet panels that are combed and brushed to form an impression without the aid of any more permanent medium such as paint or pigment. In contrast to another series, Life Scroll, a detailed and sustained drawing in fine pen that still continues as a daily discipline after 25 years, marking on velvet is a very quick technique. However, the surface of each work is so fragile that tight boxes are necessary to protect and preserve it. But I think that the fragility of the material is one of the most important factors of this series. Different from other strong and fixed surfaces in art, the visual effects of velvet conjure tactile sensation and evoke a sense of greater delicacy because of the imprint’s ephemerality.

  • Anthropometry On Velvet.

  • When I looked back at works by Yves Klein, specifically ‘Anthropometry ’, one of the important art projects in the sixties, I imagined dry printing the body on velvet. Pressing the body directly on velvet creates an image even faster than combing velvet or body printing on a canvas with paints. It would be one of the quickest techniques in art. Impressions float on a black background like photo negatives. Expression becomes more direct and, as a result, there is no boundary between performing and marking images. Velvet, created as an alternative to fur has, in any case, a greater affinity with human skin, especially female skin, than canvas or paper. For which reason, perhaps, we associate it with fetishism and sexuality. My work is based on the subconscious and, for many years, I have been trying to explore two particular aspects of the subconscious: expression formed in an instant (On Velvet) and, consisting of numerous details, over a long period of time (Life Scroll). Both of them have structures where something uncontrolled is emerging. Over time, I anticipate introducing the subconscious of other’s into my works.

  • Collaboration with Nahoko Tajima & Youko Heidy 'Conduct of Drive'

  • ‘Conduct of Drive’ is of a video of a performance by two artists and white and black drapes of velvet. When I looked for an artist as a performer for a body printing on velvet, I was lucky enough to encounter an excellent and intellectual performer, Nahoko Tajima. She is an artist performing under the theme of subconscious and language and is a member of the reading circle of Jacques Marie Émile Lacan at Rikkyo University/Saint Paul's University led by the artist and critic Naoyoshi Hikosaka. (Coincidently, I was one of the members of the circle from 2008 to 2011 but, at that time, I didn’t know Nahoko Tajima.) She named this project ‘Conduct of Drive’, referring to Sigmund Freud. For this session, we decided to invite Youko Heidy, an artist and performer who has been collaborating with Nahoko for a long time. Youko Heidy would contribute sound to the performance to encourage Nahoko to be more relaxed and liberated in her movements. In discussion, I asked Nahoko to remain concentrated most of time before she started to perform with Youko Heidy’s sound. The result of the performance was a beautiful video clip and two velvet drapes filled with marks and traces of Nahoko’s performance. This was not the expression of a moment but of a period of time, an assembly of fragments of the performance. It is difficult to distinguish her body shapes on the drapes but all of us were satisfied with the result. These drapes are a kind of direct reverse image of the body and are a record of her performance in this special session.

  • Combed and Brushed On Velvet

  • Sprayed On Felt