ParisHajime Sorayama: CYBER LADIES’ WORLD
CYBER LADIES’ WORLD
Hajime Sorayama interviewed by Jérôme Sans
Jérôme Sans: You started your career in advertising, then worked in illustration, art, fashion, design, and even technology, having collaborated with Sony to make a robotic pet. What would you say your main occupation is?
Hajime Sorayama: I work in entertainment. I never think of myself as an artist as I don’t know what “art” is.
JS: When did you start working on “feminine cyborgs” or “sexy robots”? The theme seems to be more and more relevant in our increasingly technological society.
HS: I painted the first pinup robot in 1980. It was commissioned work for the Japanese whisky, Suntory.
JS: While robots are usually seen as machines designed for human consumption, you portray them with highly human qualities through eroticization. Where does the idea come from?
HS: I’ve been interested in machines and metal since I was child. I am addicted to the shine of metal. As I was born male, the female body provides aesthetic qualities which I never bore of. It’s like a natural or primitive emotion that was handed down from my ancestors 200,000 years ago.
JS: There is a unique closeness that unites Japanese people and technology, a true symbiosis leading to technology infiltrating every corner of Japanese society. Do you think that your work is influenced by the digital culture that is very present in Japan and in Asia in general?
HS: I’m not sure how to answer that, but when I collaborated with Kim Jones for Dior, people started telling me my work represented Japanese culture, which is ironic because my family are ashamed of me.
JS: What is your relationship to eroticism? It seems to be at the center of your work since the early 80s, namely the naked or pin-up girls and legendary western Hollywoodian actresses like Marylin Monroe. When did they become part of your iconography?
HS: The United States won against Japan in the second world war and continued to introduce their culture to our country in the 1960s and 70s, including pornography showing blonde women. For my generation being a teenager in the 1970’s, it was very influential, more so than any weapon.
JS: How is your work perceived in Japan since nudity and eroticism is often censored by what is a quite puritan society?
HS: Japanese or Asian art history also comprises a huge amount of works created using erotic topics. I really don’t understand why we need to feel shame about nudity, sex, or eroticism, since we all know how we were conceived.
JS: You are internationally recognized as the primary innovator of “hyperrealism” through your airbrush technique. When did you develop this technique?
HS: I learned how to use an airbrush from my godmother, the artist Harumi Yamaguchi. I needed it to represent the air and shine of metal in my paintings.
JS: Are you comfortable with this label of “hyperrealism” in your work and did you feel close to the hyperrealist artists working at the same time in Europe and in America?
HS: I don’t care what people call me, but I don’t like to be associated with anyone I don’t’ know.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)