Kumi Yamashita’s “Shadows” Installation

Hey people, we almost hit 17 million unique visitors! Check the counter in the bottom, but let’s concentrate now on today’s illusion! Kumy Yamashita is an artist whose works we covered here on Mighty Illusions in the past. Her five other works focus on shadow pictures as well. They were created by bright light cast at an oblique angle across various relief materials attached to the wall. In both cases, an illusive image derives from an unexpected means that has no obvious visual relationship to the result. These images are done with wood, light and cast shadow and in my view they are really stunning. Kumi Yamashita not only creates simple and smart visual effects with light and shadow, she was also recently featured on YouTube and got a lot of buzz on the web.

Her subjects include shadows on the wall or dirty prints from a pair of old boots. In one installation lifelike forms of the human body in motion are produced by the most unlikely source. On the wall, illuminated by a single strong lamp, we can see an arrangement of ordinary children’s building blocks. Some are shaped like block letters or toy animals, but they are (seemingly) random forms in different sizes and shapes. Yamashita has arranged these so that each throws a particular shadow which, when taken with all the other precisely placed objects, astonishingly adds up to the illusion of reality.

After the jump, in her piece called “Landscape” she has used the most mundane medium, a dish, to portray a shadow of a talking person. The dish rotates as a steel bar stays in place, and with the shadow it casts into the “landscape” and the shadow appears to speak. I still don’t know if sound forms part of the experience, but somehow I believe it is not, it would deter from the surreal feeling and awe from the ability to create such illusive alternative. For all means, check the video!

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28 Replies to “Kumi Yamashita’s “Shadows” Installation”

  1. I was watching the whole video wondering what was the ‘object’ causing those talking faces illusion. I’m not 100%, but I think they’re a bunch of cards shaped like faces with the mouthes in various positions, circling quickly around a light source.

  2. cool illusion, i like the one with the “!” that has a shadow that looks like “?”!
    I watched the video. What are the mouths saying?

  3. First, we already had the girl thing, and 2nd, for the “!?” one, the shadow was probably pained on. The non obvios ones make you think and are good.

    P.s., for those of you in the brooklyn area, my school is having a talent show on june 11th. its preity good (its a long story how i saw ALL of it) (sry, im not in it) and tickets are 7$. the address is:

    Mark Twain Intermediate School #239
    for the Gifted & Talented
    2401 Neptune Avenue — Brooklyn, NY 11224
    Ph. 718-266-0814 — Fax. 718-266-1693

  4. Very nice!

    As an answer for “art” (comment #11), the “!?” one is obviously a “?” seen from the side so you see a “!”. Note the lighter part on the “!” which is the concave part of the “?”.

  5. I went to see her most recent show in NYC. She made a portrait out of pins and a single, continuous thread! Here’s an image

    She also had other portraits made from removing select treads from woven fabrics. REALLY detailed and extremely time consuming.

    I posted a recent appearance on a Japanese TV show profiling her work-Video

  6. to #9 not anonymous
    incidentally…the mouths are saying “my name is jenny”

    watch this Japanese video about Kumi Yamashita called “unbelievable” it is MUCH more interesting than the original video shown (when the original video is embedded and theres related videos below it).

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