Ken + Julia Yonetani’s work explores the interaction between humans, nature, science and the spiritual realm in the contemporary age, unearthing and visualizing hidden connections between people and their environment. Their installations work within an interdisciplinary field, inspiring responses through all five senses – sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. They incorporate performance and prompt the viewer through immersive interaction at the most basic of levels. The connection between audience and environment is undeviating within a powerful aesthetic. Their work is highly accessible, attracting international acclaim and widespread attention for its combination of aesthetics and nuanced expression of contemporary issues.
Ken + Julia Yonetani have exhibited in such venues as the Venice Biennale 2009, National Museum of Singapore (Singapore Biennale 2013), Abbaye de Maubuisson in France, Art Gallery of NSW in Australia, GV Art London, NKV Wiesbaden in Germany, Kone Foundation in Finland, 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney, and Art Gallery of South Australia. They have undertaken residencies in Finland, Portugal, Germany, Mildura and Sydney. They have received numerous grants, including Creative Australia (New Work), Visual Arts New Work (established), NSW Arts Creation and Promotion Grant, NSW Artist Grant (NAVA), a Synapse Residency and an Inter-Arts Creative development residency grant. In 2009 they represented Australia at the Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art. One recent highlight is their first survey show in Europe Un autre rêve (Another dream) at the 12 century Abbaye de Maubuisson in France (November 2014 – August 2015).
Ken Yonetani was born in 1971 in Tokyo, Japan. He lives and works in Katoomba NSW, Australia. He received a Bachelor of Economics in Japan and worked in the Foreign Exchange Market in Tokyo for three years. Following this, he was an assistant for pottery master, Toshio Kinjo, oldest son of Jiro Kinjo a National Living Treasure of Japan. He completed his M.A. at The Australian National University School of Art in 2005. He has held numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the 2008 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. He was selected for the Australian contingent at The 53rd Venice Bienniale in 2009.
Julia Yonetani is an artist, writer, and researcher. She holds a PhD from the Australian National University, and has held positions lecturing and researching in History, Cultural Studies, and Art Theory at the University of New South Wales, Western Sydney University and the University of the Ryukyus, Japan. She has exhibited with Ken Yonetani at galleries such as the La Trobe Museum of Art, Melbourne, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane, and Campbelltown Arts Centre, and has published in publications such as Cultural Studies Review, Artlink, Art and Perception, Asian Studies Review, Japanese Studies, and Critical Asian Studies. In February 2010 she staged a bed-in with Ken at Federation Square, Melbourne. She has been involved in various environmental movements and represented Okinawan environmental groups at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in Amman, Jordan in 2000.