Sasaoka Yuriko was born in 1988 in Osaka, Japan. She received her MFA in oil painting and PhD in media art from the Kyoto City University of Arts.
In her practice, Sasaoka investigates the limits and potentiality of representation through various modalities of entertainment, including theater, song, and the collective screen. Many of her works respond, whether explicitly or indirectly, to the 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan, tapping into the collective consciousness of those who live close to disaster, or, as Sasaoka says, “between life and death.” Witnessing the tragedy unfold on a tiny television screen, Sasaoka interpreted the flat surface to be a membrane that presented an unreality or unresolvable gap between action and consequence.
Through immersive video installations that often involve the idea of the marionette—a symbol of sociopolitical puppeteering and gendered normativity—she expands the interstitial spaces between the surreal and the lucid. In her works, she performs as multiple characters, liberating narratives from rigid ideas around gender, identity, and history. A recent work, "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 addresses critical topics, rendering the moving image and history itself as a fluid and conflicted narrative.
Her work has been shown at Reborn Art Festival, Kyoto Art Centre (Kyoto), Kuandu 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.