Kumi Yamashita is a Japanese artist who has managed to tame shadows by using light. She truly deserves to be called a “shadow artist” because all of her works are indeed shadows. By using a strong source of light, a bulb or a lamp, she lights various relief materials which she places on a wall. The result is unexpected – a portrait of a character generated by the specific position of the material which hasn’t got any visual links with the generated shadow. Thus, an irregular piece of wood on a wall when lighted becomes a shadow of two lovers or a portrait of a girl. Those seemingly simple visual effects are the result of careful thinking and the manipulation of objects and light. Yamashita says that her aim is to examine the way we perceive reality, and we usually take that way for granted. The artist analyses and continually examines established truths, ideas and values of passive observers.
Apart from wall shadows, the artist makes portraits using credit card numbers in frottage which is characteristic of surrealism. The result, again, shows the characteristics of physiognomy by perfect shading. Whether or not we consider her art as banal optical illusions, Kumi Yamashita actually finds hidden shapes at the most unexpected places.
More on the artist here