Mountain Fold Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition of “Yu Ukai: Photographs”. The show presents a series of images, individually expressing stories of widely different content, yet connecting as a body of work that renders the invisible visible.
One photograph, among numerous depictions of bodies in bed, captures three figures lying before a Japanese screen that iterates a misty landscape with faint traces of pine trees and mountain peaks. The cool formality of the backdrop contrasts with the striped, floral and gingham quilts, strewn between a disembodied, Wrangler-clad leg, a young man in his underwear and an armpit. The image reflects, and reflects on, the intimacy of sharing sleep space but dreaming apart.
An unconventional still life photograph recalls a taxonomic image in a biology text, as five fragments of a succulent plant have been ordered on a white piece of paper. The flat cactus-like fronds, all of the same plant yet ranging in size and color, bear patterns that invoke turquoise stones, Caribbean Sea water and other natural elements. That these cuttings could alternately rot or be made to sprout new roots gives the viewer pause to consider a ghostly presence in living things.
Ukai’s photographs are never forcefully shocking or sensational; rather, they contemplate aspects of fragility, spirituality, ephemerality and the obscure. A spectral, fleeting property in the photographs has a changing effect on the viewer’s experience. This fluidity mimics that of being in space and time: the longer the viewer interacts with the images, the more the work transforms and reveals.