Yoko Évé Biography

Photographer – Artistic Documentary. Born in Tochigi, Japan, in 1978. Yoko was raised in a small town in the countryside by a mathematician father and a piano teacher mother. When she was 16 years old, she went to the U.K. as an exchange student, where she learned artistic expression in painting and live performance for the piano. Upon returning to Japan, she published a book on her experiences in the U.K. from Bungei-Shunju, one of Japan’s most prestigious publishers. B.A., faculty of Policy Management, Keio University. Since encountering such arts as African drums and Chinese martial arts, Yoko developed a profound interest in “Internal Arts” where humans’ super-natural skills are revealed. She tries to capture through a lens such energetic worlds that activate our instinctive senses. Fluent in English, French, and Japanese, she enjoys lengthy discussions and developing relationships with the local people. Her appreciation and affection of their world are reflected in her works. She deploys artistic documentary style, with all research and preparation carried out on her own. These projects lead her to various destinations mainly in Asia, Africa and Europe. She currently resides in New York.

Artist’s Statement

What is “Internal Arts”? – by Yoko Évé

The term “Internal Arts” was originally used in Chinese martial arts, to describe the style that focuses on one’s internal development such as spirit, mind and qui rather than physical strength and speed. It is said to be Huang Zongxi, a Chinese Taoist during the latter part of the Ming dynasty into the early part the Qing, who first distinguished the Shaolin school of martial arts, the External system (外家), from Wudang school, the Internal system (内家). The “Internal Arts” in my projects also has as a characteristic that it activates humans’ internal, instinctive energy as opposed to the external arts which are more visible in appearance. In African music and Wudang kung-fu which I worked on as themes, there are concepts that are fundamentally different from those of ours who live a modern life, and they are quite difficult to understand from the appearances or the explanations by the local specialists. It is my objective to record those decisive moments in their closed Internal Arts world in the form of photography. The concept of the Internal Arts for me is not only limited to the artistic activities mentioned above. I believe we can find Internal Arts in things that are within our reach. An “Internal Art” could be an activity or a place where such internal elements as vitality, primitive senses or instincts are activated, as opposed to civilized concepts such as knowledge, thinking and material richness. It is such Internal Arts that I would like to introduce in my photography. I have received extraordinary, priceless gifts from the masters and their environments during my shooting for each project, which I wish to share with people who view my work.