"(Remember Mama Said) You Can’t Hurry Love"
Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “(Remember Mama Said) You Can’t Hurry Love,” Yang Bo’s second solo exhibition with the gallery from February 12 to March 12, 2022.
Yang Bo has consistently produced works on the theme of pop culture and the sense of distance related to its reception. Centering on music, Yang has enjoyed pop culture, which despite being concerned with far distant persons and events, approaches us psychologically as something extremely intimate. Drawing inspiration from such influences, Yang creates his unique world of work through mixing portraits of pop starts and the various scenes that they color with landscapes from his own life. Through producing work, Yang serves to unravel his own reception (which could in a sense be described as submission mixed with feelings of admiration), and in doing so, deciphers the state surrounding each era. It can be said that through painting, Yang attempts to shed light on how this continuum touches upon the universality of the present age.
Yang mentions that “attraction itself” had been in a key phrase his mind in the process of producing the works presented in the exhibition. Why, and how are people attracted to something? Furthermore, what kind of emotional movement and behavior arises beyond its psychological mechanism? The subtleties of one’s mind and emotions are literally each to their own. For every individual there are things that they cannot help but be attracted to, and we should be able to realize how this attraction certainly influences us while harboring a sense of reality in our everyday lives. Yang envisioned “attraction itself” as the source of this feeling, and referred to it as a hypothetical guideline for producing his work.
Starting with a painting in which the word “Fascinate” is repeatedly written, the works in the exhibition feature fashion items as a new motif in addition to scenes that intermix music, films, and scenery from Yang’s own life as often observed in his oeuvre thus far. The artist himself mentions how the things that he is attracted to are often already being historicized. When something new is born in our current times, the truth is that it in many cases it simultaneously entails the repetition and updating of history. In response to the fact that what he is attracted to may at times serve as a mere steppingstone for the birth of something else, the artist has also produced works that reflect his feelings of love, conflict, and hate that appear to endlessly spin around like a roulette –thus venturing deeper into his inner self.
The artist is also usually known for writing accompanying texts so as to seemingly complement the story behind the exhibited works while facilitating a certain connection to them. On this occasion, the texts are written in the form of a letter addressed to a particular individual, and thus have a more monologue and subjective tone.
The times are the same as ever, but how are you doing these days?
By now I find myself somewhat comfortable with this sense of weightlessness caused by the naivety of these passing days, and to be honest, sometimes I ever so slightly convulse. I’ve come to the point of almost recognizing the signs when my senses seem to ossify, yet in the end, even in the midst of all this I am helplessly unable to resist being fascinated by something or another. Fascination is that which I seek, feel jealousy towards, and look for if there is no longer enough. If I cannot find it, I may even attempt to consume the very emptiness that remains. This could also be regarded as an act of resistance against ossification, but on the other hand I am terrified by this, as at times feel like I am inextricably connected to it.
Right now, one of you old songs is playing from a set of Bluetooth speakers that a friend of mine had once given to me. It’s just past 2:30 in the middle of the night, and I am writing this not in the room where I produce my work, but from the sofa in the living room…”
Yang Bo, 2022.1.22
The title of the exhibition, “(Remember Mama Said) You Can’t Hurry Love,” is taken from an eponymous song by The Supremes, a soul music group that was active in the US during its heyday of the 1960s. This song tells the story of a person seeking “love,” waiting for “something” that would gently speak to and strongly embrace them. Likewise, Yang Bo’s works are a testimony of his endeavor to create new narratives through painting, while building from these sentiments that indeed any one of us may have.
Yang Bo was born in Hubei, China in 1991, and moved to Miyagi prefecture in Japan in 2001. He graduated in 2019 with an M.F.A. in Painting from Tokyo University of the Arts, and currently lives and works in Tokyo. His recent solo exhibitions include, “Heart of glass” (CAPSULE Gallery, Tokyo, 2018), with selected group exhibitions such as “working / editing” (akibatamabi21, Tokyo, 2020), “Fixed Shadows” (Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, Tokyo, 2019), and “The Course of true love never did run smooth” (EUKARYOTE, Tokyo, 2019).