Who is Yutta? And Why You Need One

Yutta first appeared when I was still at the academy. With her tangled brown hair and worn plastic body, she’s perhaps not the most assuming of dolls. 
She first came into my studio to model for ‘A Moral Code’, a series of still life paintings where I used toys to pose morally loaded questions. After this, Yutta became a permanent resident of my studio, gathering dust in the corner.
It wasn’t until I started focusing on growing my Instagram that Yutta came back into the picture. I quickly realized that I wasn’t able to produce enough high-quality content to sustain an engaging and well-curated account. I started experimenting with documenting a broader range of my studio practice and soon enough, I was videoing: how I built panels; my studio moves from one residency to another; and creating short animations using studio props. Yutta the doll, was one of them. 

The thing about Yutta is that she is sort of a strange looking creature. Once you’ve seen her, she’s not easy to forget.

She has been welcomed with both love and loathing by my Instagram fans, and the same is true of her real-life encounters (oh yes, I frequently take her to shows and openings with me). 
But, the big moment for Yutta was when she met Paul Karstrom. A prominent art historian and a dear friend, Paul embraced my little companion and encouraged us to peruse this experimental part of my practice. Here was the authoritative signal we needed. Over time, I started feeling a strong kinship with my strange companion, and I felt an urge to create a body of work by her: Yutta’s art. 

Those of you who follow my studio practice know that my work is quite serious, and I take great pride in the ‘craftmanship’ of my paintings. I was trained in realism and design, and the work I produce is generally based on academic guidelines. This is core to my values. In my opinion it gives the work a real objective value and professionalism that’s often missing in post-modern art. Not Yutta’s art though... that’s an entirely different story!

Yutta is very experimental and brave in her practice. She producers work on a whim. Freed from the conventions of academic painting, she doesn’t have to worry about the gallery circuit. Her work, though it is collectible (and yes, she has some very prominent collectors, including a visionary Sillicon Valley VC, Steve Jurvetson), is spontaneous, irrationally joyful, and experimental. 

She has no fear of judgment, no shame, and no pride. This gives her tremendous freedom of expression and unequaled creativity. Yutta jumps from medium to medium, making paintings, video and performance art, not to mention her relentless criticism. Yes, you read that right! Yutta has no social consciousness or manners. 

In all seriousness, Yutta allows me to be free without fear of being ridiculed or judged. After all, she has no reputation to protect. Because she works on a small scale, each piece of work doesn’t take much time or material investment. She allows me to experiment, to try things out that otherwise I would never have had the guts to do. 
And it’s certainly the case, that Yutta is as an alter-ego of sorts. Don’t you also wish you had an avatar that allowed you to forget about your obligations? To forget about your needs, social norms and the such? A Yutta would allow you to explore parts of your life that are unfulfilled, to unlock the “creative you”.
We live in such a structured, highly demanding society where we’re forced to constantly adopt prescribed roles: one moment preforming perfectly in a corporate job, the next an academic environment or a family gathering. We’re too busy to be truly outrageous. We’re too scared to express ourselves. We fear being judged, called a weirdo, or unrealistic...
Yutta is exempt from all this. For me, she is my child self and exploring this unrestrained, creative universe; she allows me to be a full person!
It’s freeing in a way my more academic practice isn’t, and whether you’re an artist or not, I think everyone needs a little Yutta in their life. 
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Pilat Fine Art · 3526 17th St. · San Francisco, CA 94110 · USA

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