With the exhibition entitled Self Similar, we are pleased to present a Japanese painter whose work combines the influences of traditional Japanese painting with that of contemporary art. Yuka Kashihara first started her studies at Musashino Art University in Tokyo and at the HGB Leipzig, where she then completed her one-year as Master apprenticeship in 2015.
Her main focus is landscapes. Just as the traditional Japanese landscape painting – which is usually very reduced – is more an object for meditation and for reflection upon the inner landscapes of the observer, Kashihara creates a kind of emotional cartography with her work.
Her landscapes depict peculiar voidages, mountains, rocks, forests and bodies of water, often in the form of small ponds, puddles or even a swimming pool or basin. In some of her works, architectural elements suggest the presence of people (who never appear in her paintings) and natural shapes to create very unusual spaces.
Kashihara’s paintings have developed from panoramic overview landscapes and forests imagery, to the interwoven structures of tropical jungles, suggesting that her understanding of the elementary structures of natural forms has evolved. She explains as follows: “As I walked through the Malaysian jungle last year, I came across places in the thicket that have been unaffected by people for a long time. There was a sense of loss and rebirth; this was both beautiful and eerie at the same time. I was then increasingly occupied by the repetition of forms as the infinite reflection of the part of a whole: these fractal structures were first found in the jungle of Malaysia, and then subsequently in my paintings. ”
Her colour palette further underlines the fact that her works are more about inner landscapes than accurate natural depictions. The thinly applied coats of egg tempera create flat interlacing forms, that can be interpreted as natural elements, or as forms that partly or as completely dissolved into abstraction.
“When I observe a landscape, I am fascinated by the layers of the past: earth, colour & traces of the people who were once there. I try to imagine how the first or last person perceived this landscape. When two people see a landscape, what they see is never the same: I try to find these differences and deviations, and then fill the created gaps.”