The Inspiration Behind K-narf’s Yummy Yami Exhibition
“Art is a way to keep memory of things.” Inspired by the true and fascinating story of Issei Sagawa, a Japanese man who engaged in acts of cannibalism while living in Paris, K-narf pushes the limits of how sex is portrayed in art—insisting on creating a jarring dialogue between images and the story behind them. “It was 1981 so there was a lot of press..so when he [ Issei] arrived in Japan he became a small celebrity..started being invited tv shows..he became a food critc for japanese food magazine…a mascot for meat chain restaurant and a porn actor.” Yummy Yami is a series of collages made from photographs of window displays of pornographic movie theaters in Tokyo and shots of French butcher shops. With the juxtaposition of images of raw meat and softcore erotica, Yummy Yami evokes the same discomfort as Sagawa’s story. Opening April 11/May8 @ FBGallery 368 Broadway, suite 209 @Franklin Street.
On June 11, 1981, Issei Sagawa, a 32 year old Japanese student in Paris, invited a young Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt for dinner at his apartment under the pretense of translating German poetry. After she arrived, he shot her in the back while she was reading. He then began to carry out his plan to consume her flesh.
After two days of eating her various body parts, Sagawa attempted to dump the mutilated body into a lake and was seen in the act. He was later arrested by the French police. His wealthy father provided a top lawyer for his defense and he was able to claim insanity. Sagawa spent a short time in a French mental institution, but was soon extradited to Japan where psychologists all found him to be sane but “evil” and thus it was legally impossible to hold him. As a result, Sagawa checked himself out of the mental institution on August 12, 1986, and has been a free man ever since.
Sagawa now lives in Tokyo and is a minor Japanese celebrity. He is often invited as a guest speaker and commentator, he has written restaurant reviews, appeared in a pornographic film, and in a TV commercial for a Japanese restaurant chain.