In situ 

34. KIMIKO’S PAINTING BECOMING by Gerard Wajcman – English


Kimiko Yoshida seems to throw herself into the flow of painting and allow herself to be carried away by it with an almost palpable pleasure. Her very being is played out in this act of painting as a “painting becoming” and Kimiko. KY goes so far as to dress herself in nothing but a shadow, or a reflection.

The ordering of images, the hierarchy of forms is abolished. One by one, woman, man, animal, monster, object, light, color, in a ballet of identities, KY, the artist, leaves her body behind, steps past the limits of its form. The very image of humanity is shattered. But KY accomplishes this, – in an era in which violence against the body, terrorist acts and assassinations are constant, it is important to insist on this – Kimiko accomplishes this without inflicting harm, neither to her own body nor to those of others, does it with extreme delicacy and respect, one could easily say, does it with love.

It is the physical figure of the human being which loses its prestige in KY’s work, bodies lose what we think of as their absolute privilege over objects. Inert things and living beings are brought together and captured by what they have in common, the image. Images of living beings and images of things.

In order to make sense of this series of simple characteristics, in order to reassert the intimate logic of this work, I would say that in this case KY dresses herself neither in clothing nor accessories but in painting. KY does not seek to look like something else, nor does she seek to look like herself. She paints herself.

Like in the Wu Tao Tzu legend, the Chinese painter of the 13th dynasty (around the 8th century,) about whom it was said that he had gone into one of his landscapes and disappeared, KY in turn, walks into Painting, into the history of Painting.

Yet can one for all of that say that she has disappeared? A refracted art, a dispersed art, yet KY’s art is not the art of self-effacement, but rather that of resonance, the art of an echo. What is very beautiful here, very powerful, and even a kind of folly is not just that KY embraces all painting in her work, it is that the artist succeeds, and at the same time helps us succeed with her in an experience which belongs to all of us. In the worlds into which it pulls us and projects us, all art speaks of us, of each of us. To think that art is talking to me, that at the very moment in which I look at a canvas, it is looking back at me, might strike one as hallucinatory or delirious. But it is not. It is simply Lacanian. When I look at it, and lose myself in it, every painting is looking back at me. The Painting is painting me too.

Of course, one could see KY’s dive into the history of painting as being an expedition in quest of a father, of a mother, let’s say of an identity. But that is not the case. Ky isn’t looking for a father here, but for something else that is lost.

Translated by Roger Salloch.