Sakevi Yokoyama’s Oppressive liberation spirit Volume 1
Sakevi Yokoyama's artistic creations have consistently exuded brilliance, cryptic allure, and majestic qualities, while continually transcending the boundaries of conventional forms of expression. In the early 1980s, Yokoyama, a member of the Japanese punk metal band G.I.S.M, embarked on his artistic journey armed with nothing more than glue and scissors. Drawing inspiration from John Heartfield, he harnessed the potency of art as a formidable weapon. Through the ingenious techniques of photo montages and collages, Yokoyama fearlessly waged war against propaganda's deceitful narratives. His deliberate juxtapositions of images and text fragments became a vehicle for conveying potent messages that resonate powerfully to this day.
Regrettably, Yokoyama's artistic emissions beyond Japan have proven elusive to trace. Yet, early in 2020, a website surfaced, presenting clothing and Yokoyama's catalogue raisonné, Oppressive liberation spirit Volume 1. This unexpected unveiling sparked eager anticipation and lofty hopes. The question lingered: could Yokoyama's intricate artworks effectively transition to book form, particularly given certain pieces featured special overlays and nuanced elements that defied simple depiction? This doubt was soon assuaged. When unwrapping the catalogue and going through the first few pages, it became obvious that it was not only a compilation but an expertly curated and calculated compendium.
Yokoyama’s opulently illustrated book still appeals to initiated G.I.S.M. aficionados as well as everyday collage and art enthusiasts. The collection demonstrates the true extent of the artist’s innovative ideas. It is astonishing that those early emissions were created before the use of computers became commonplace, let alone the mainstream use of additional tools such as Photoshop. Yokoyama’s catalogue takes you on a journey with carefully orchestrated ebbs and flows that investigate not only the artist’s history, but the direction society is headed.
In many ways, Oppressive liberation spirit Volume 1 is the equivalent to G.I.S.M.’s mind-blowing home video Subj & Egos, Chopped. If you have had the pleasure of experiencing this masterpiece, you would recall the atmosphere Yokoyama created with intermeshed live footage, slow-motion graphics, and backstage images. This footage, supplemented with haunting industrial soundscapes, embodies the violence that ensued during the band’s live performances.
While the addition of artwork documenting the history and evolution of G.I.S.M. is captivating, the catalogue reaches its pinnacle when delving into Yokoyama’s intricate solo endeavours. Specifically, his macabre interpretations of 9/11, the New World Order, his personal worldview, and his contemplations on complex social phenomena and cultural idiosyncrasies. Additional inclusions encompass a treasure trove of freely intermixed media, references, and ideas. The catalogue also dedicates sections to Yokoyama’s fashion line, whose products can be found only in exclusive Tokyo-based boutiques.
Although the catalogue offers a comprehensive overview and a tantalising glimpse into Yokoyama’s imaginative world, the exhaustive visual documentation inevitably leaves us yearning for more. One can only hope for the emergence of future volumes (as I understand it, limited copies of this edition are still available).
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