1883 Magazine

A Japanese-born, London-based artist, Ayuko Sugiura explores our cultural identity through a highly personal language transforming the most familiar images into a new symbolism which intends to express the clash of cultural references typical of our time. Marked by an interest in iconography and myth constructed by contemporary society, Sugiura’s work consists of hybridsculptural forms and immersive environments evoking a multi-sensory experience in the viewer. Arches, crucifixes and icons are often employed in the realisation of many of her sculptures as a way to examine the instinctual nature of religion in modern culture; clearly estranged from their context, these references become as difficult to identify as the influence of Christianity itself in daily modern life.

Although characterised by a playfully surreal juxtapositions of materials and bright colours, Ayuko’s work should not mislead us: the palpable legacy of sci-fi and psychological thriller leads the viewer to question how far the duality and multiplicity of identity, its consistently shifting form, is the realisation and revelation of a contemporary psychosis.


Hosted at WW Gallery until October 6th, Second Skin is Ayuko’s current solo show; curated by Debra Wilson and Chiara Williams, the exhibition gathers together a wisely selected assortment of works dating from between 2007 and 2012. Particularly enthralling are A Feast – a birthday bunting composed of branded pigs’ ears, ribbons, wool and nails – and Second Skin, a three-dimensional drawing installation of what appears to be a cathedral made of silicone and wire. Other works on display are: Duvet-Pattern-Body, a video projection on a duvet; Tracery, an intricate network of geometries made of silicone; Longing and Peace – an installation reproducing a bra featuring satin, lace, netting, padding and perfume – and Pink Elephant, a sculpture of silicone and jesmonite.


Born in Tokyo in 1984, Ayuko Sugiura has been living and working in London since 2008. Graduated in Fine Arts / Sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, Ayuko was shortlisted for UJADF award in 2010. Among her most recent exhibitions are: World’s Our Oyster, APT Gallery, Deptford, London, UK (2012); Crunch Art Festival at Hay, "POW" curated by WW Gallery, The Globe, Hay-on-way, Wales, UK (2011); The Charter of the Forest, The Collection, Usher Gallery & Chambers Farm Wood (Wragby), Lincolnshire, UK (2011);Afternoon tea, WW Gallery at Venice Biennale, The Quaffers Pavilion, Venice, Italy (2011); London Art Fair - Art Star Super Store by WW Gallery, Business Design Centre, Islington, London, UK (2011);UJADF finalist exhibition, Pall Mall Gallery, London, UK (a competition organised by EWACC) (2010); No espere mas / Wait no more, Pop-up Gallery, London, UK (curated by Mary Gorge) (2010);Degree Show, Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK (2010); Drink & Dial, WW Gallery, London, UK (curated by Chiara Williams and Debra Wilson) (2010). Ayuko Sugiura is represented by WW Gallery.


Second Skin will be running until October 6th at WW Gallery, 34/35 Hatton Garden, EC1N 8DX London.

All images courtesy of WW Gallery.


Words by Jacopo Nuvolari 

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