Out of Focus
In late 2018, two of Yumiko Yoneda's three "trash bins" disappeared from the Zuiderpark in quick succession. This Japanese artist has lived and worked in The Hague since the early 1990s. With these unusual trash cans made of bronze, she invariably puts the viewer on the wrong track. Because no remains have been found in the immediate vicinity, it does not seem to be a case of vandalism, but of theft. Probably the thieves were after the bronze. To prevent the theft of the third and final work from this series as well, that sculpture was removed from the park as a precaution. It has since been safely in storage awaiting a possible new location.
De Villierskopje, Den Haag
52.0594213286583, 4.28080489704189 View on map
A bear made of concrete, a 'trash can' made of bronze in a park, or a styrofoam column between the concrete pillars of an exhibition space. Yumiko Yoneda uses materials and forms with which she essentially changes the meaning of the object. In this way the Japanese sculptor, who lives and works in the Netherlands, creates delightful surprises. Because you look strangely surprised when the rubbish bin in which you want to throw your piece of paper is not a bin at all and, moreover, is made of bronze. But you immediately forgive the artist, who comes up with such witty ideas.
Still, with her art Yoneda wants to show more than just a witty find. By turning things upside down and looking for contrast, she shows that nothing is what it seems. Yoneda's art leaves the viewer staggered for a moment to stand firmer after regaining balance. The 'Waste bins' from 2000 in the Zuiderpark make you realize that concentrated observation is essential for a good understanding of reality.
At Yoneda, materials vary, accents shift and shapes change. In essence, her art revolves around opposites. She creates totally abstract images, in which figuration and abstraction fight for attention. This happens, for example, in her series of emotive portraits from 2003. The 'portraits' hang on the wall like unidentifiable white, dented spheres. Until the light passes in a certain way along the subtle hollows in the object and the sphere changes into a recognisable face. Yoneda's wooden sculptures from the early nineties represent the contrast between nature and culture, as a kind of inseparable Yin and Yang. Finally, there is the contrast between the object and the material, as in the case of the waste bin made of bronze or as in the case of her bear from 2005, which no longer allows itself to be cuddled in the concrete.