Yusk Imai is a self-taught contemporary artist who was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1982, to a Japanese descendent family. At the age of 6 months his family migrated to São Paulo where he lived until recently. Since 2007, Yusk has exhibited extensively within galleries, at art fairs and on the streets of Europe, USA, Australia and South America.
The flat perspectives and dramatic curves demonstrated in Imai’s work is reminiscent of Art Nouveau greats such as Gustav Klimt. His work exposes the rawness of humanity through surreal landscapes and characters reeking of maniac behaviour, insomnia, suffering and self-exploration, Imai’s paintings and drawings seem to lure us into a curious state of awe and questioning.
Exhibitions by Yusk Imai
2018, Phantom Pain with Dante Horoiwa
During one of our many discussions in the studio, we came across a hidden sensation, something that is always present, yet its causes or even the meaning of its existence still felt very abstract, but we agreed in describing it as a dull but constant pain.
This is our attempt to interpret this well of abstract sensations, and during this process we hit many notes, but one in particular kept showing up over and over for both of us, death. Maybe the fear of it, maybe what it leaves behind for the living, whatever it is, it exists.
This phantom pain keeps us going, fuelling our actions in life, always present, like gravity flowing through us and all things, always wise, reminding us, ironically, that everything is impermanent.
We hope that you may welcome this pain with warmth, and that it may feel less abstract now, as it does for us, through our exhibition Phantom Pain.
– Yusk Imai and Dante Horoiwa
2016, The Mortal Drama
Welcome to the Mortal Drama, Where The World is a Stage And life is an improvised act. Each one of us stars in a play, Whether we want it or not. But What about the shy?
For the shy I say this;
Facing Stage Fright is important
But not a requirement
Stomach Butterflies will always be there, Soundless Theme Songs will
Distort important questions...
To be or Who to Be?
At the last moments you will whisper, “So This is How it Ends”.
And stare at the promised and Unexpected Ending of your own play Therefore, a piece of advice:
Don’t take things too seriously,
Control is an illusion,
Our lives star at the theatres
For a very short time
So enjoy the stage,
Because you’re already standing on it.
Completing his three month residency at Backwoods Gallery, Yusk will present OBLIVION, a collection of new illustrations, paintings and installations at Backwoods Gallery.
Yusk's contemporary take on the Viennese Secession style was brought to the attention of critics by his 2009 Rotterdam mural. His most recent series sees him wrestle with the notion of oblivion as a fractured state of unconsciousness. These ostensibly post-apocalyptic works tread warily between sci-fi apparitions, threatening premonitions and horror stills, luring us into a state of self-consciousness and questioning. They materialize organically as recollections of forgotten dreams and mislaid memories.
2011, You Have No Chance With Coincidence
You Have No Chance With Coincidence is a collection of works that explores life, love and death, interwoven through oils, acrylics, aerosol and inks, and all crafted through a delicate balance of determination and chance. It is a big collection, both in size and importance as it represents a significant chapter in the artist’s life.
The exhibition was completed as he made his way across Europe during the course of the year -painting walls and working shitty jobs. The installations and statues were created during his residency at Backwoods and Everfresh Studio over the course of a month.