Artist’s Statement


No other sculptor can turn paper, wood, flax and wire into wall sculptures of such intriguing ambiguity as Yuriko Yamaguchi. In the ongoing series of works titled “Metamorphosis,” begun in 1991, she conjures those materials into shapes so familiar yet so enigmatic that it’s almost impossible to keep from touching them, from physically examining them to try to divine their meaning…Such evocative power — aesthetically and psychologically — of her sculpture. “Metamorphosis” is an apt metaphor for what has gone on in the series over the years…But what makes Yamaguchi’s work so compelling is its audacious ambiguity, Nothing is quite what it seems, beginning with the physical appearance of the works. With many of the pieces, it’s almost impossible to know without referring to Yamaguchi’s written description whether a sculpture is animal, vegetable, or mineral. – Ferdinand Protzman, The Washington Post

Yamaguchi’s “Metamorphosis” series has been compared to haiku, and it’s a fitting description. The artist set herself formal limitations similar to the controlled syllable count of the popular Japanese poetic form…Yamaguchi’s “Metamorphosis” series began in 1991 and was planned to include 108 rows of sculpture. The artist says her inspiration came from the bells in a Buddhist temple that ring out 108 times at the new year to symbolize all the human desires and the suffering they bring. The four forms in each line are about stability and completion, as well as the elements earth, water, air and fire. Even though the word “poetic” tends to get overused as an adjective in describing artworks, here no other fits quite so well. – Sheila Farr, Seattle Times

The principle of transformation underlies both series, linking the works notion of life and identity as being in flux or transition. What’s new about her web sculptures is that they literally visualize the energy fields around the objects while they enmesh the viewer in their auras. A more empathetic communion results between observer and observed. Further evidence of the web sculptures’ malleability lies in their ability to shift shapes and to expand or contract to fit a specific site. A comparison of the titles from the two shows suggests that the action has also evolved, from the more general Metamorphosis to the more particular Propulsion, Leap, Arrival, and Convergence, as though the artist were zeroing in on the specifics of what constitutes change.
 – Sarah Tanguy, Sculpture

Web #5 (2003) is a stunning work, weird and evocative. It is 21 feet long, with the mouth 8 feet in diameter. The black wires that shape the piece — and eerily seemed to modify the very air you breathed as you stood beside it — are linked and twisted in a bent, jagged, three-dimensional drawing of improvisatory vigor. – Joe Shannon, Art in America

She examines the interrelatedness and dependence that has bound humans to animals and to the earth since, well, forever. That connectedness gets reinforced through the technological innovations that connect us in succeeding generations. Our latest happens to be the Internet….She seems genuinely beguiled by the paradoxes of human life — specifically, the illusion of individual free will in a terminally interdependent world. – Jessica Dawson, The Washington Post

“Floating World”

The cloud-like Floating World (2007) nods to the ukiyo-e woodblock tradition both in its title and through its poetic metamorphosis of strikingly non-poetic material — copper and steel wires interwoven with resin chips, beads, and a whole variety of obsolete computer components. Added to these subtle variations or fragments of a possibly meaningful system is a lyrical analogy between computer networks and the inescapable interconnectedness of all matter…she became influenced by the work of Austian-American physicist Fritjof Capra, who among other claims to fame has been instrumental in popularizing ideas like “deep ecology” and “complexity theory.” The basic premise of this systems theorist turned eco-philosopher, advanced in books like The Tao of Physics (1975) and more recently The Web of Life (1997) and The Hidden Connections (2004), is the need for reforming the anthropocentric view of the nature/art dialectic by a greater mindfulness of the ‘”hidden connections between everything.”  – Aneta Georgievska-Shine, Art US


Yuriko Yamaguchi has a distinct and subtly unsettlingly way of expressing vulnerability…A motion detector embedded in the ceiling registers one’s presence via spasms of tinny “heartbeats” emitted by small speakers. The sound confirms we’re within the sheltering environment, but also warns of intruders, instilling a sense of paranoia that keeps us inside. – Nord Wennerstrom, ArtForum

“Georgia On My Mind”

Yuriko Yamaguchi created Georgia On My Mind for the Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport. On the north side of the T-Gate concourse, 28 cast bronze objects, arranged horizontally in four rows of seven, respond to the grid pattern of  the wall tiles and span an overall area of 10 by 27 feet. “My overall concept is always that my work is like a vessel that people can fit in,” says Yamaguchi. The vertical rows act as metaphors for the rejuvenation of the state and transformation of the life cycle in the larger world. – Sculpture