YOSHIO OKUYAMA - ON MY SCULPTURE -
When I started making sculpture initially I made figurative statues.
While researching how a figure could give a stronger impact to the viewer, I came to wonder whether I could construct the physical essence of the sculpture, its volume and line, while removing hair, eyebrows, nose and even mouth.
This was my theme for the next twenty years in Italy.
When I first saw the beauty of the cracked grain and whiteness of natural marble in Carrara, it was more stunning than anything I had ever seen. At first I tried to make the most of it as it was.
It made me begin to contemplate whether there was any need for me to add my hand at all to such pieces of untouched natural beauty.
Thereupon, doubt arose in my mind as to why I had been born.
What was it I was born to do?
I felt challenged to confirm my very identity for living on this earth.
If the raw material is more beautiful when I do nothing to it, then there is no point in my creating sculpture.
I had to acknowledge the self within myself, and finally came to believe that my hand could add something that appeared more natural than nature.
Thus began my research into “artificial beauty” compared with “natural beauty”, which has become my lifework.
This has become my lifelong theme.
Acknowledging humanity, praising mankind - intervening for my existence (identity)
With a figurative sculpture, one can covey one’s intention to some extent by using concepts mutually shared by viewer and the maker, for example, by expressing intent through facial expression, degree of body muscle tension, and texture.
However, with abstract works, this sort of mutual consensus does not exist. Thus I had to research anew what kind of expression, intention, and direction would be created by what sort of line and volume.