When nature will take over again.
This seems to be the subtitle of these stunning sculptures created by the 29 year-old Yui Ishibashi.
Look at the faces of these (still) human beings: they express melancholy, sadness, resignation. Although perfectly in life, they seem simple livelihoods for plants, rich humus, compost. Branches, roots and leaves plunge in their bodies, they become their part, then get out gently but firmly, as a sprout emerges from fertile earth.
The artist uses different materials, like wood (of course), resin, cloth, wire and marble dust to represent the natural elements extending in all directions.
Fallen on the ground, kneeling in a corner, these terrible fairytale characters are deprived of their forces while the bark wraps them up. New submissive creatures emerge in this natural process, human yet with sylvan forms, halfway between tubers and bulbs. Faces that resemble nymphs of classical memory, people of Nordic legends.
Some of them got surprised by the sudden “naturalization”, some have seen nature flourishing around them, but all of them let it grow, aware (willingly or not) of this need. And Yui talks exactly of need, need to recognize ouselves intertwined with the natural world, the balance of the life cycle to which we belong, even when we are “in shelter” in our housing units, yet eating the fruits of the Earth. And we will feed the Earth, once our time is over. In truth, our time continues after, in an natural infinite we perfectly know but easily forget. This seems the subtle reminder of Yui.
Almost like chlorophyll already flowed through our veins, waiting to sprout up from inside. A beautiful metaphor.
These amazing sculptures remind me of the magnificent Bernini‘s masterpiece “Apollo and Daphne”, where the nymph, in the immobility of marble, is represented in the act of transformation into a laurel bush. The biggest difference here is the emotion conveyed by the work of art: in Daphne we see fear, urgence, pain; in Yui’s statues a calm resignation invades the scene.
I bet Bernini himself would be astonished in front of these sculptures.
“Destroy the beauty that has injured me, or change the body that destroys my life.’ Before her prayer was ended, torpor seized on all her body, and a thin bark closed around her gentle bosom, and her hair became as moving leaves; her arms were changed to waving branches, and her active feet as clinging roots were fastened to the ground—her face was hidden with encircling leaves.” (Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book I).