Yabe’s work has been shown very successfully in a first solo exhibition in January 2018 in New York. We are going to present his first solo show in Europe at our gallery in January 2019.
During his studies Yabe discovered the carvings of Enku (1632 - 1695), a monk from the Edo period, who allegedly during his life created 120,000 wooden statues and gave those away as presents during his long distance walks. In contrast to the traditional Japanese wood sculpture, the surfaces were rough and coarse in design. Individual pieces are still to find in various temples in the province of Mino, Japan.
Yabe carves his small-scale sculptures of undefined creatures with a "Nata" – a special Japanese hatchet, a tool today only used for cutting and chopping branches and wood. The jagged lines, the uneven cuts and distorted shapes of his enigmatic sculptures are result of the specific manufacturing process. Working on the material with the hatchet opens up the surface, emphasizes the processual and provokes chance through the difficult-to-control way of working. In addition, perforations are made with a drill, to structure the wooden block. These give every sculpture an undertone of entropy that can lead to the almost complete dissolution of the figure. With his radically limited choice of medium and tool, the artist creates an antithesis to the perfect surface of a merely virtual existence in which the physical reality of our world threatens to disappear.