Artist: Yuji Agematsu
Exhibition title: Mexico City: April 1 to 13, 2019
Venue: Lulu, Mexico City, Mexico
Date: April 13 – June 26, 2019
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Lulu, Mexico City
Lulu is very happy to present a solo exhibition of the Japanese-born, New York-based artist, Yuji Agematsu.
Yuji Agematsu is known for creating sculptures out of the seemingly insubstantial urban debris of every day life. A long time resident of New York City, Agematsu walks its streets gathering up everything from tiny wrappers to chewed gum to modest flotsam and jetsam of unidentifiable origin. Each trouvaille is notated in a small notebook, in which the artist records the time, place and date of the find in a combination of English and Japanese. If the debris is small enough, it is inserted into and amalgamated into what he calls “zips”– the small, cellophane wrapper from a pack of cigarettes which he fills from material only on the day it is found and then eventually collects into months. Or if what he finds is too large, it is liable to enter other sculptural configurations which might be placed on a plinth, or pinned to white foam-core board or directly to the wall like so many entomological specimens. And while the practice might seem to be as archeological as it is scientific, it is first and foremost sculptural. What Agematsu presents is clearly marked by his decidedly alchemical touch. His collations, juxtapositions and agglomerations are full of a meticulous and surprising formal beauty; form, color, and texture play equally important roles in the composition of what he creates. His objects offer a special, unexpected insight into the city, which is a byproduct of both his process of selection and how he isolates and renders visible its modest refuse. It’s as if he were providing us with a charmed bug’s eye view of the city and allowing us to perceive it in a way that was otherwise inaccessible to us.
For his exhibition at Lulu, Agematsu spent almost two weeks wandering the streets of Mexico City. Therefore what he will present will have been entirely drawn from his peregrinations of the Mexican capital. The spaces will be divided into a much more traditional, if elegant installation in the front, and something much more experimental in the back, which the artist has painted yellow and green, to make it look like La Merced market in central Mexico City. As a whole, the exhibition is bound to startle, fascinate, disgust, and ultimately enchant.
Yuji Agematsu (b. in 1956 in Kanagawa, Japan) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Agematsu studied with Tokio Hasegawa, a member of the band Taj Mahal Travellers, and the jazz drummer and choreographer Milford Graves. A selection of solo exhibitions includes: The Power Station, Dallas, (2018); Self-Portrait at Miguel Abreu gallery, New York (2017); Yale Union, Portland (2014); and Real Fine Arts, Brooklyn (2014 & 2012). A selection of group exhibitions includes: Carnegie International, 57th edition, curated by Ingrid Schaffner, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA (2018-2019); Speak Lokal, Kunsthalle Zurich (2017); The Keeper, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, The New Museum, New York (2016). He is currently preparing his second solo at Miguel Abreu gallery, New York as well as other exhibitions. His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and in the Pinault Collection.