Born in 1985, resident of Tokyo. Studied sculpture in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University. Currently received the master's degree from the Graduate School of Film and New Media at the Tokyo University of the Arts.
Yu Araki pursues various styles of moving-image expression. A pack of milk floating in a kitchen (Kitchen, 2006) resembles the early works of Jonas Darberg; the animation 971 Horses + 4 Zebras (2007) refers to Eadweard J. Muybridge; and in the city, a work where a suicide is attempted using a banana as a gun (Suicide Piece, 2007).
After returning from study in the United States and enrolling at Tokyo University of the Arts, Araki's work has moved on from these comparatively short works and began introducing longer pieces that incorporate text.
In "Memory of Sound" (2009), the visual focus is on taking everyday objects - ear cleaners, matches, wire and vinyl - in hand and playing with them, while a narrative is developed only in the subtitles. Through these fragments of text a number of painful memories are revealed. Are these Araki's personal memories, or something fabricated? A monologue composed these of textual memories is synchronized with the tactile-perceptual data of the zoom-in shots of hands playing and the sounds of these gestures.
In "Deep Search," the artist swallows a small figurine of a sitting gymnast, and uses a stomach camera to follow after it. Turning the artists body into the images and sounds of an artwork is nothing new, though in this case there is something shocking about it. But it was quite a mysterious experience to enter the darkened room where this work was installed and enter into this journey looking for the human/doll inside the microcosm of the digestive tract.
As was evident in the two-person show "Part-time Worker and the Returnee Kid" (2009), Araki somewhat self-mockingly recognizes his status as someone who has studied abroad and then returned to Japan. But this work does not establish an identity based on nationality. Rather, it expresses an earnest personal desire to search for a unique personal connection between the individual and the outside world. Further, using hearing, touch, and a floating sense of vision, the work becomes an experiment in transmitting personal physical experiences outside the boundaries of politics and narrative.