Public defence

Viva Voce Yuka Oyama: The Stubborn Life of Objects

Artist and Research Fellow Yuka Oyama will defend her research work "THE STUBBORN LIFE OF OBJECTS" at the presentation of her thesis at Oslo National Academy of the Arts.

Time: Thursday September 7, 10.00–12.30
Place: Auditoriet, Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Fossveien 24

Artistic Research Fellow 2012–2016
The Art and Craft department, Oslo National Academy of the Arts


In Yuka Oyama’s artistic research “THE STUBBORN LIFE OF OBJECTS” Oyama has been exploring how and why certain domestic objects trigger our imagination, take on a life of their own, cause inconvenience – in short, make us behave differently.

Oyama explores to understand the following issues:

  • What type of domestic objects do people develop strong emotional attachments to and what is reflected in the ‘stubbornness’ of these objects?
  • How can the physical and psychological impact of objects be, transformed into wearable sculptures and performance?
  • How to communicate the stories of objects to an audience using film, photography and installations?

Oyama’s artistic language is constructed with the two intertwined components: a worn object and a person. Oyama examines how the object and the person intermediate and activate each other both physically and psychologically by constructing life-sized wearable objects that allow a person to become the object. Oyama’s personal biography of constantly relocating her country of residence has influenced her to rely on adorned objects as means of communication at times when words fail. Oyama investigates how objects ‘help’ shape, stabilize and transform a person’s identity.

In the course of her artistic research, Oyama has implemented cross-disciplinary research in cooperation with diverse groups of people – such as mime dancers and object theatre actors, the artist's karate colleagues, young adults and seniors, collectors of unusual things, as well as students from the Norwegian Theatre Academy and Oslo National Academy of the Arts.

The following aspects are also of great importance to Oyamas overall research:

  • Developing an understanding for materials and methods to construct wearable sculptures.
  • Investigating how to deploy inclusive and collaborative art projects that provide meaningfulness to the participants.

Oyama’s fellowship project, “THE STUBBORN LIFE OF OBJECT”, has resulted in five art films: “Cleaning Samurai”, “Helmet – River”, “Modern Ballet Duo & Trio”, “Encapsulation Suits”, and “Stubborn Objects Psychodrama”, and a series of photographic portraits, “Collectors”. Through emphasizing humanization of objects, Oyama indirectly addresses objectifications of humans.

Evaluation Committee

Prof. Nina Malterud, University of Bergen
Prof. Suska Mackert, Akademie der Bildenden Künste Nürnberg
Prof. Hans Hamid Rasmussen, Oslo National Academy of the Arts


Prof. Sunniva McAlinden, Oslo National Academy of the Arts (2013-2017)
Dr. Jennifer Allen, art critic (2014-2016)
Olafur Gislason, artist/lecturer, Icelandic Academy of the Arts (2013-2014)
Dr. Karmenlara Ely, Associate Professor and Artistic Director Acting, Norwegian Theatre Academy (2013-2014)

Research results

Read the artist’s statement in the academy’s archive.

Yuka Oyama
was born in Tokyo in 1974 and grew up in Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, USA and Germany. Oyama has participated in numerous international exhibitions. Recently she has exhibited at Ajavahe. Time Difference, The 7th Tallinn Applied Art Triennial 2017, Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Tallin; After Wearing: A History of Gestures, Actions and Jewelry, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NY. In 2015, Oyama mounted a solo exhibition Encapsulation Suits at Oslo Kunstforening. In 2014, she participated in a two-person exhibition, Faces to Hide, SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio and further group exhibitions, EMBRACED, Gustavsbergs Konsthall, Gustavsberg. In fall 2017, Oyama is appointed to perform in MEDUSA – Jewellery and Taboo, The Musee d’Art modern de la Ville de Paris. In spring 2018, she will exhibit in Material Matters, The Dowse Art Museum, Wellington, New Zealand.

Yuka Oyama,