Sasaoka Yuriko (b. 1988, based in Kyoto) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work mines myth and technology in a global context.
As a child, Sasaoka was enamored with marionettes, believing them to be symbols of agency and performative gesture—the visible strings a solemn reminder of the ways in which we are controlled. In one of her earliest works, "Atem" (2014-15), Sasaoka expresses a phobia of growing older and conforming to a single identity; in the video, we see gloved hands holding up puppet baby dolls with digitized faces that occasionally glitch, revealing an older, cartoonishly made up female figure. In another video, “Icarus’s Bride”(2015-16) life-size puppets and CGI-animated faces interpret the Greek myth of a foolhardy father and son, reframing the story instead as a cautionary tale of patriarchal oppression.
A more recent video installation, "Planaria" (2021), utilizes handmade fish-head dolls to illustrate the loss of agency in events of individual or collective trauma. Whether through hand puppets, traditional marionettes, or animated figures, Sasaoka challenges critical sociopolitical topics—the Asia-Pacific war, gender, and suicide—in her video installations, rendering the moving image and history itself as a fluid and conflicted narrative.
Her work has been shown at Setouchi Triennale, Reborn Art Festival, Kyoto Art Centre (Kyoto), Kuanda Museum of Fine Arts (Taipei), VBKÖ (Vienna), and TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art (Szczecin). She won Grand Prize at the Gunma Biennale for Young Artists in 2017. Her work is in the Japigozzi Collection and other private collections.