In the foreword to his first book, New Engineering [Picture Box, Inc., $19.95], Yuichi Yokoyama states that "there are two kinds of artworks. One carries information and the other is craft. The former expresses new ideas... the later is the kind of work that one desires to purchase and own. I aim for the former."
This is a strange statement coming from an artist just featured in the newest issue of hipster uberzine Ganzfeld 5: Japanda! [Ginko Press, $29.95]; and someone who plans to publish two new books, the next one about travel, in the next two years.
That is how new art can often feel: unfinished and contradictory.
For example, in Yokoyama's work he only uses rulers to draw his lines, yearning to remove the human element from the work completely, to make the perspective of his invented reality more mechanical, objective.
But there is human feeling in the stories: angles of perspective jut out violently, action lines and boulders crash brilliantly, and bold Japanese sound effect scripts deliver compelling dialogue, in his visual narratives of alien paper dolls and plastic mountains.
What are his stories about?
"I like construction sites and traveling." Yokoyama's characters, sometimes an inanimate boulder or book used as projectile weapon within the landscape pop off of the page. Adhesives of no explanation glue together costumes of feathers and rubber. Often his stories are events in progress, such as an unexplained battle or the construction of an underwater viewing station.
Plainly stated: if you, the reader, are looking for what Yokoyama states as a "humanistic work," or "works of a personal nature," I can recommend this book to you with a warning that you may find it an oblique read, especially reading right to left in it's original Japanese format.
If you are the type of reader who loves the alien and the new, the person among friends who preferred the original Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris over the Soderberg remake, this is your cup of tea. Maybe you even saw another Tarkovsky film, Stalker, where alien technology has been left to humanity with no user manual. That is the feeling with Yuichi Yokoyama's New Engineering. It is something new.
By Guest Contributor: Mark Denardo
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