“I was interested in giving these dead things a new face (it turned out, literally) but also doing something that was heretical…”

Over the past decade, Mamiko Otsubo’s sculpture has taken on material challenges that play with the conventions of built form and design. For example, in one body of work she structurally rearranged and disassembled known design objects to create her own installations. Recently, Otsubo started working with old books. Calling them “raw material,” she took images from them to create masks that she then mounted onto the book’s cover. As an attempt to work with photographic material, these objects also pose visual questions about sculpture. As books now rearranged, they also push Otsubo’s authority as an artist to author, brand, historicize or mutilate in the act of creation.

Curator Courtney J. Martin is an art historian, having completed her doctorate at Yale University in 20th century British art. Currently, she is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art department at the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to this appointment, she was a fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (2008-2009) and, in 2007, a Henry Moore Institute Research Fellow. Before entering Yale, she was the Interim Head Curator at the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum and worked in the media, arts, and culture unit of the Ford Foundation in New York.


Installation view, "MASKS," new work by Mamiko Otsubo. Photo by Etienne Frossard.

Installation view, “MASKS,” new work by Mamiko Otsubo. Photo by Etienne Frossard.

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