Yumiko Utsu

Utsu combines food photography with the anthropomorphic aspects of anime culture. She shares her affinity for kitsch with British photographer Martin Parr. But instead of an exclusively documentary style approach to the Japanese relation to food, she uses fruit, vegetables and sea creatures to construct surreal fantasies. The world is inhabited by kraken-eyed kittens, octopus an old master and phallic carrots.

Contemporary artists such as Takashi Murakami utilise the animated figures of anime culture to overturn Japanese culture. Utsu manages to do the same, by contrasting the decaying products of nature with the antiseptic moral framework of modern society. Her work discusses our complex relationship to nature and our own physicality.

The Japanese artist is inspired by Czech animator Jan ┼ávankmajer and his surreal short film Food (1992). She too offers unsettling scenes when she transforms the head of a piece of broccoli into an Alpine landscape. “The title means exactly what the words say: naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork”.

Yumiko Utsu was born in 1978, Tokyo. She has enjoyed solo exhibitions in Hungary and Japan and Charles Saatchi has also been known to admire her work.

Words and photographs courtesy of: www.michealhoplingallery.com

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