Sunday, June 8, 2008

Shadow Art by Kumi Yamashita

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!