brief profile

Born 1982 in Sapporo City, Hokkaido, Japan. Lives and works in Japan and the Philippines. Atsuko Yamagata has started her career as a visual artist since 2006 when she lived in Tokyo. She moved to Philippines in 2012 and her activities have expanded in the art scene in Manila. She has been participating in numerous exhibitions mainly in Philippines , also in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.

Yamagata is basically self-taught artist. She received B.A. Faculty of Foreign Studies in Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, especially she majored in Indonesian language as a part of cultural study of Southeast Asia.  After years, she entered Musashino Art University in Tokyo to study fine arts , and took some courses for a year  and dropped out. 

In 2022, she was selected finalists of Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2022 in HongKong. Her recent remarkable exhibitions are : In 2022, <Chiang Mai x Nakanojo International Exchange Exhibition2022 "Floating Lights"> in Chiang Mai, Thailand, <OCCURRENT> in Vargas Museum in Manila, Philippines. In 2021 and 2022, solo exhibitions <Lovable Adorable Cells> in Viento Arts Gallery in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, and in Galerie Stephanie in Manila, Philippines. In 2021, solo exhibitions <attachment | distance> and in 2020, <Do you hear it?> both at Artinformal Gallery. In 2019 two women exhibition with Mervy Pueblo <Transcendental> at Cultural Center of the Philippines.  Also she was selected as a participant artist in Nakanojo Biennale, International Contemporary Art Festival 2017 and 2019 in Gunma Prefecture, Japan.

Exhibition Note by Gwen Bautista for the show "Lovable Adorable Cells" 2022 January, Galerie Stephanie

Atsuko Yamagata’s “Lovable Adorable Cells” explores the understanding of life, human emotions, and all that it encompasses through the investigation of images drawn from microscopic cells. Here, the organisms become representations of sentiments as they are gathered together in a commune-like ensemble. Through painting, the artist engages a process that emphasizes the characteristics of every image and cell as it becomes a representation of universal emotions. Since the pandemic, Yamagata yearns to describe the invisible life present in the world through restaging the deepest and smallest biological units inside our bodies. Every cell that occupies our body contributes to the way we relate to ourselves and the society. In her art-making, Yamagata continues her process of allowing the flow of glue to organically dictate the shape and form in her work as natural elements such as air and water intervene. This manner allows uncontrolled elements in the composition, thus, these imperfections constitute the genuine bearings that make us all human —lovable, adorable, and yet complicated cells inside a body. Hence, we come to acknowledge even the nuisances of living.

In portraying these images, Yamagata points out the equality and universality of emotions as well as the cells that make our body: both looking indiscriminately into race, gender, and socio-economic status. If we really want to make sense of life, then, we simply respect it in all its forms. Another aspect of these works is the presence of flamboyance meticulously rendered in the details tended to every depiction of the cell. At times, they may look the same but they each carry individual characteristics that make each form and color stand out from each other. This is parallel to the way people would navigate themselves in their own society for each may function as an individual, important in the sense of independence, yet purposefully part of a larger scope just as a cell becomes a tissue, a muscle, a body, and a person.

 curated by Gwen Bautista

Artist Statement

Painting transmutes forms and shapes into living creatures that articulate ideas drawn from animism, biogenesis or structure of living organisms, which are dominant influences in my works.

I explore understanding the particularities of life or its relativity with human emotion through scientific images such as microscopic images of cells and microorganisms. 

In my art-making process, the flow of glue organically dictates the shape and form of fragments in my works as I submit my mastery of the skill in allowing natural elements such as air and water to intervene and to begin the composition of the work. I select and decide the colors to be used, which in turn define these representations. 

As in the process of dyeing handmade papers, I can plan the streaks but cannot control the result ; hence, they become perfectly imperfect.

The element of uncontrollability is regarded as an important part in my art-making.

Introduced On Galleries Site




2022年、香港の現代芸術賞であるSovereign Asian Art Prize2022にて入賞。

近年の代表的な展示に、2022年、群馬県中之条町にて《拝啓、うつり住みまして》、タイのチェンマイにて《チェンマイx中之条国際交流展2022 Floating Lights》、2021年群馬県高崎市、ビエントアーツギャラリーにて個展《かわいい かわいい 細胞たち》、2021年Artinformal Gallery(フィリピン) での個展《attachment | distance》、2019年Cultural Center of the Philippines(フィリピン文化センター) にてMervy Puebloとの二人展である《Transcendental》等。2017・2019・2023年に群馬県中之条町の国際現代芸術祭、中之条ビエンナーレに参加。








Recent exhibitions : 

1.11. 2022 – 1. 25. 2022

“Lovable Adorable Cells”

Galerie Stephanie, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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