Eros to Agape

Since the beginning of the 21st century, which corresponded with his 40th birthday, Yukawa has been demonstrating his extraordinary artistic talent.

  His turning point had arrived during his experience of studying abroad in Italy from 2001 to 2002. Most people who studied abroad in Italy mentioned that many artists in Italy no longer create figurative styled sculptures in nowadays. Since Yukawa’s art was made outstanding by studying curving under Professor Yasutake Funakoshi, people who he met greatly appreciated how sophisticated his knowledge and technique for art were.

  In Pietrasanta, Italy, Yukawa was fortunate to gain his confidence in his own figurative style, and mastered a technique of stone curving. In addition to that, he encountered Gustavo Velez, a young Colombian abstract sculptor, who began their longtime friendship.   

  Afterwards, Yukawa originated to combine terra-cotta and wooden sculptures in order to express his own style of figurative art. Since his family worked with wood, his childhood was surrounded by multiple types of woods. Just like that, his childhood memory led him familiar with wood more than terra-cotta. However, his recent art style of how he engraves wood and proceeds its surface, reflected western stone curving style rather than Japanese traditional wooden sculpture style. Perhaps, as Seiichi Tsuchiya, an art critic, an associate professor, and Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts, pointed out; In order to express the sense of unity of terra-cotta and wood with avoiding the materialism, the technique of how the Western style controls wooden texture must be appropriate rather than how the Japanese style focuses on showing the wooden texture.

Owing to his friendship with Gustavo Velez, Yukawa has visited several places in the Central and the South America yearly, such as Colombia, Panama and Cuba. During his few months of stays in those countries, he worked intensively to create his arts and was invited to numerous exhibitions. Some of his personal collection were given to the museums in the local area. Leading by Yukawa’s international works, he made a strong relationship with Korea. Since 2009, Yukawa and his friends have been a host of the international sculpture exchange exhibitions in both Japan (Tokyo and Iwaki city) and Soul, Korea. In Taiwan, he teaches students there and also creates his work from two years ago. He was invited to Singapore in this year to exhibit the work as well. All of these steps help him reach out to the new breakthrough internationally.

  On the other hand, Mr. Tsuchiya in his critical article in The Okinawa Times, touched the “spirit” inside Yukawa’s creation. This idea of “spirit” would characterize what Yukawa has been expressed in his works in the recent years. 10 years ago, I claimed Yukawa’s artistic style as what brings the spirit to one’s mind from the physical state; in other word, “Eros, which oozes from its internal, if it is covered with Agape’s skin”. To clear my idea out, Eros, which I stated above does not mean a charming figure of Cupid, which is often shown in mythical paintings. Eros was born from Gaea with the others such as Chaos during the great creation of the world. It represents a presence of Primeval that promotes survival and prosperity. On the other hand, Agape refers to love that is spiritual in nature distinct from carnal desire or simple affection. When I met his art works, I sensed Eros which has been strongly stimulating my instinct within his sophisticated works based on Agape love.

  After 10 years, Yukawa’s prominent technique and style now seem to feature with Agape love after coexisting Eros and Agape in his works. However, that didn’t get the point about his works. Did he actually end conflict between Eros and Agape? For me, Eros is still potentially lurking at the core bottom of his work, and I have a hope that one day it will appear. That is because what makes Yukawa’s art to be attractive is humane conflict in his works, such as idealism and realism and sacred and profane.

Director of Iwaki City Art Museum and Utsunomiya Art Museum
Yoshiharu Sasaki