Sayaka Maruyama
Visual Lexicon | Photography | Space Poetry

'Is it possible to think without words?'

First publication 'memorandom 0' is out in April 2019 from konomad editions.

Limited editions of 100.
Few copies available at Printed Matter NY.
POST, On Sundays, Tsutaya Daikanyama Art in Tokyo

International distributor: IDEA BOOKS (NL)

Sayaka Maruyama is currently based in NY.
contact: info (at) sayakamaruyama.com
Article: August 14, 2019

Fragments from an Artist's Diary: Sayaka Maruyama's "Memorandom 0"

Ideas. Memories. Emotions. Feelings. As we get older and look back upon our experiences we often find that fragmented and broken recollections form the vast puzzles of our lives. Last year poet and photographer, artist and filmmaker, painter and illustrator Sayaka Maruyama found herself at a crossroad in her life and she decided to take a deep breath and find a way to tidy up her body of work.

Born in Niigata, Japan, Maruyama grew up in Tokyo, moved to The Netherlands with her family and as a grown up worked in London and New York, building her own archive of works, thoughts and ideas. She therefore attempted to come up with a method to catalogue and memorize her best and most powerful creations.

Recollecting wasn't easy, though: Maruyama realized that, throughout the years she had generated a vast corpus comprising many and multiple visions. The only way to take stock of her artistic practice and put some order into her personal disorder or finally grant to disorder the state of art, was reaching into her unconscious and giving an eternal and timeless form to the endless visual poetry she had created. The result of this process was a book entitled memorandom 0 that is now out on Konomad Editions.

I had the privilege of interviewing the artist for memorandom 0, and to write the book Afterword. It was a process that went on for a few months as both Maruyama and I do not think that everything has got to be produced quickly and following today's "insta" rhythms. So we got to know each other, a process that allowed me to discover her poetic, ethereal, enigmatic and romantic, strange and disquieting photographs, drawings, paintings, films and illustrations. I learnt to read through her colours, lines and silhouettes, in a nutshell I learnt to decode her lexicon and to speak her artistic language. I'm glad I took the journey and I'm overjoyed the book is finally out there.
Text: Anna Battista
Flora, 2019
Acrylic painting on canvas
Three Graces as a part of 'The fountain of Desire', 2018
Meshes into the Supernature 2018, for Pan and the Dream issue 3
Sakura, 2012
April 12 - May 11 2019
Memorandom 0 Book Launch and exhibition @(Place) by method, 1-3-1 Higashi Shibuya-ku Tokyo.
'NUDES'(2018)
Filmed and edited by Sayaka Maruyama
May 10 2019 VOGUE ITALIA - PERSONAS

© Photography: Sayaka Maruyama Hair & Wigs : Tomi Kono Models: Miho, Aoi, Yuko Nagata, Shigemi, Rinko, Isamaya Ffrench
'Metamorphosis', 2012
'Flower Conversations', 2016
memorandom 0
Sayaka Maruyama

memorandom Artistic practice 2011-2019

New York-based artist Sayaka Maruyama (b.1983) is a multi-disciplinary artist who translates her notions of beauty into photography, drawings, books, and short films. "Life as a whole is a collective box of emotional experiences. " "memorandom" records the personal practices of Sayaka Maruyama between 2011-2019, includ- ing photography, drawings, paintings, collages, objects and extracted images from her short films. The ideas and thoughts randomly passing through her mind are visualized in various forms of expres- sion, then translated into the form of a book by the artist herself. Maruyama feels it is more natural for her to in- stinctively translate her vision into images rather than into words. Rather than being completed and finished, these images retain all the beauty of the non-finito, they are still in the process of becoming and escape the trap of being categorized in a specific form. "I am simply interested in how we perceive beauty in our own perspective, react to it and make visible so that we can share with others." How each person perceives the world can not always be explained logically. Maruyama gives importance to the act of recording indefinable emotions and moments. By binding her random memorandoms, these collected images, drawings and fragments of text weave multiple layered dialogues that result in a personal, poetic and tangible portrait of the artist. "I wonder if each reader will get a different feeling and interpretation of my works while leafing through this volume and in return how my work will be influenced by them."
'The Meshes into the Supernature', 2018
PAN and the Dream issue #3
Flora 2019
Sakura 2012
'The Meshes into the Supernature', 2018
PAN and the Dream issue #3
Flora, 2019
'Alice in Halloween Ball', 2010 London
'Metamorphosis', 2012
Perfume of Lotus, 2011
Sakura, 2012
‘AWAKENING’ 2012
[impromptu]

Photopraphy : Sayaka Maruyama Movement Artist : Masumi Saito Hair & Make up : Carol Brown

Everything in this world is transformative. Nothing stays the same. How mutable is the world, and I. Life is like dancing. Dancing with self, time, space and people. As she moves and dances, I captures before the moment disappears.
'Rabbit in Halloween Ball', 2010 London
Awakening 2012 for FAR-NEAR issue 1 : Movement
'THE PAIN OF DESIRE'(2011)
Filmed and edited by Sayaka Maruyama

The idea behind the word “memorandom” is very apt for our times: we collect pictures, quotes and texts on our computers, mobile devices and so on, and your format of saving your personal inspiration and works into a diary also makes me think about collecting images on digital platforms. What inspired you the idea behind “memorandom”?

We all collect fragmented images and texts – at least I do so. “memorandom” is 99% made of my own work, plus there is a 1% composed of objets trouvés, slides that I found in a market and that I wanted to include. The concept behind the book is very simple: I wanted to make my daily work, ideas, thoughts, memos, doodles, sketches, intuitive photography and inspiring quotes more substantial by compiling them in a volume. When your materials are spread all over the place, you eventually forget about them or your lose them. But collecting them in a book format means that  they become a visible and tangible album of memories and stories. It is strange, but I recently felt my eyes and mind were engaged in a constant recollecting process: words, phrases and images have been incessantly keeping on coming back to my mind. I've been replaying them as if they were a mental script or film, an internal dialogue, both conscious and unconscious. I felt there was a possibility to expand and develop this personal dialogue, to give importance to these random elements and turn them into a compelling narration.

Do you feel that the book format suits better to your modus operandi, even in today's fast-paced digital world?

Nowadays when you work as a photographer most of the images you take are left as data in devices like a computer. They are not tangible, but invisible entities that exist in a hard disk that may break, making us forget those moments and those stories. It is surely handy to have your images in such formats as you can share them easily with other people, but I feel books are tangible entities that will always be with us, they can be stored on a shelf and you can always go back and leaf through them. I feel this is also a personal process that allows me to discover more about myself.

In “memorandom” you introduce an important creative concept - the possibility of dissent, mischief and disorder. Do you feel that sometimes these ideas are being forgotten in a world that constantly tries to tell us to conform?  

I think that society requires us to constantly change ourselves and adapt in some ways, but life is not easy and each and every one of us has got their personality. We tend to keep ourselves busy with tasks and purposes. As a consequence, being true to ourselves becomes harder. I needed a place where I could work with no purpose or with no specific concept. “memorandom” is my personal way to stay true to myself, and put a disordered order to my random thoughts.

How would you describe “memorandom”? Is it a diary, a fragmented notebook, an insight into your working process or your personal visual Wunderkammer?

It’s everything of the above, but it is first and foremost a personal insight into my working process. Even when I call it a “random mix and match mash-up image book”, I realize I'm not carelessly putting things together. It has indeed taken me a lot of time to design it in a precise way. I would say that the process of creating and designing this book is an insightful act and a personal training for me.


interview by Anna Battista, October 2018
Utopic Playgrounds 2017
Acrylic on Canvas
'Metamorphosis', 2012
May 1 2019 BEAUTY PAPERS

© Photography: Sayaka Maruyama Hair & Wigs : Tomi Kono Models: Miho, Aoi, Shigemi, Rinko, Isamaya Ffrench
Aftermemos: 'memorandom 0'


A Visual Lexicon 「現代のヴィジュアル・レクシコン」

Text by Anna Battista

Ideas. Thoughts. Memories. Emotions. Feelings. As we get older and look back upon our experiences we often find that fragmented and broken recollections form the vast puzzles of our lives. Poet and photographer, artist and filmmaker, painter and illustrator Sayaka Maruyama found herself at a crossroad in her life. After working in London and New York, she decided to take a deep breath and find a way to tidy up her body of work. She attempted to come up with a method to catalogue and memorize her best and most powerful creations. Recollecting wasn’t easy, though: Sayaka realized that, throughout the years she had generated a vast corpus comprising many and multiple visions. The only way to take stock of her artistic practice and put some order into her personal disorder or finally grant to disorder the state of art, was reaching into her unconscious and giving an eternal and timeless form to the endless visual poetry she had created. The result of this process - memorandom - is in your hands.

memorandom is first and foremost an experimental platform, a collection of diverse archival materials: according to your background and knowledge, your state of mind or mood, you may be able to summon up different visions from Sayaka’s photographs, drawings, paintings, films and illustrations. They are poetic, enigmatic and romantic, but they are also strange and disquieting, capable of powerful things. Sayaka’s mesmerizing exercises with paper cut-outs evoke maquettes for experimental sets; the subtle shades of stills from her films call to mind early hand-colored and stenciled silent movies; the veiled transparencies that filter the portraits of her models point at Loïe Fuller’s fantastically colored phosphorescent swaths of silk. Her photographs layered with doodles look like parchments covered in magic formulas, while there is an Alice in Wonderland-quality in her photographs of mirrors and in her distorted gouache and graphite on paper artworks, employed to recount an epiphany the artist had in Tokyo. Then there are strong and fierce images featuring Melanie Gaydos that have a fashion flair about them. At times Sayaka works with correspondences: she shows us a detail of a classical image of feet clad in Roman sandals with pale blue straps and juxtaposes it to an abstract drawing of sketched flowers with the same delicate pastel nuances. At others she just invites us to look at geometrical shapes and forms and appreciate them simply and unpretentiously for what they are, for their colors and silhouettes.

This visual journey in which different techniques such as drawing, sketching, painting and photography overlap and combine, marks a new beginning in Sayaka’s artistic career and a process of inner choices for personal changes. Here Sayaka presents her universe: you can start from the end of the book or from the middle; you can quickly look at one image and then linger on another one, maybe falling into a trance; you can start at the very end and jump back at the beginning. Sayaka’s images are glimpses of a vast fluid narrative, but they are not ordered chapters. They are conceived as a series of postscripts, inviting her audience to remember, collect and recollect. In a world that is quick at forgetting things, Sayaka uses images, doodles or broken words written in delicate pencil on paper to establish connections, telling us that, even in our ephemeral times, memories are important for our humanity and our collective understanding. Words in Sayaka’s universe are redundant. Sentences are useless, because Sayaka’s lexicon is made of images, they are the building blocks of a universal language that unites us all. This is Sayaka’s diary. This is her glossary. Enter silently, quietly, softly. For your delight and pleasure; for your inspiration and creativity. Learn to speak Sayaka’s language and she will reveal to you the radiant source of energy that inspires her daily life and artistic practice - the extended possibilities of her memorandom.
Sakura 2012, for EYEMAZING magazine
'Mermaid'(2012)
Japonism, 2011
'Halloween Ball', 2010 London