Yusuke Asai (Born in Tokyo in 1981) continues with his unrestrained creation of art in all sorts of places, using everyday materials. Asai’s art may basically be divided into three series: the Earth painting series created with samples of soil and water taken from various places, the White Line series made by torching thermobonding sheet used for markings on asphalt roads, and the Masking Plant series of drawings made with a permanent marker on masking tape. His artistic activity is not confined to production by himself in his studio; he also undertakes big projects involving collaboration with friends, volunteers, or other third parties. As they take shape, his works seem to enjoy their own growth while accepting change, and the process of their production unfolds dynamically, as if the artist is trying to implant the “wildness” which urban settings are said to lack and require.
Born in an endless stream, his primordial motifs encompass images of plants, animals, people, and myth-like entities that appear to be hybrids of plants or animals and human beings, all arrayed side by side, without leaving any gaps of blank surface. Some seem to display an eco-structure by, for example, having smaller plants or animals nested inside larger creatures.
Asai’s main solo exhibitions include “Yusuke Asai: Seeds of Imagination, Journeys of Soil” (The Hakone Open-Air Museum, 2015 – 2016) and “yamatane” (Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, 2014). Other major exhibitions and projects in which he participated in recent years were “Garden of Life” (2020, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum); the Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2019 (China); Reborn-Art Festival 2019 (Ishinomaki); Wulong Lanba Art Festival 2019 (China); “Meet the Collection – 30th Anniversary Exhibition of the Yokohama Museum of Art” (2019, Yokohama); “All Living Things,” Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum (2016, Shizuoka); Setouchi Triennale (2013 – 2019, Okayama); Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2015 (Niigata).
When creating my work, sometimes I find myself feeling, that I’m writing a letter to the first person who ever painted, who lived in the distant past when human could hardly communicate using words, or to the person whom I’ve yet to meet in the distant future.
In the year 2020, as travel restriction was enforced, I spend more time nesting at home, sharing the feeling with people around the world that nothing can be done in this noiseless and peculiar time, I thought that perhaps this might be the perfect time to write a long letter, in a more courteous way than usual, I moved my hands hoping to send it to a slightly larger number of people, of course the content can’t be described in words, nevertheless, I hope that the person who received the letter will say, ‘Yeah, I hear you’.