Human emotion can sometimes be difficult to express, even in words. But Japanese artist Fuco Ueda manages to articulate hers with detailed, albeit morbid pictures that evoke sadness, stirring our emotions by questioning: is there a life after death?

The glowing and colourful flora and fauna contrast against the pale yellow skin of the mysterious girls in her paintings, whose faces are framed by long green hair and whose hands are bare of skin, revealing the skeleton beneath.

Ueda captivates her audience by portraying these seemingly innocent girls in surreal situations – in a state of limbo, perhaps? – leaving behind a melancholic aftertaste of sadness and longing.

Recently taking a darker turn, Ueda’s works now see her painted subjects surrounded or accompanied by Hitodama – balls of fire thought to be spirits of the dead.

Ueda’s work gives us insight to her morbid fascination with sadness, loneliness and death. Gallery Kogure in Tokyo curated her work and sums it up:

Fuko Ueda portrays the feeling of loneliness that exists within dreams and reality through paintings of floating illusions. In her depiction of innocent female characters surrounded by nature’s bounty you get a glimpse of the “deep psyche of the human mind.” Despite bursting with intimacy, there are sounds you can almost hear but can’t and things you can almost grasp but are out of reach.Gallery Kogure in Tokyo




Images sourced and text referenced from Beautiful/Decay, Jonathan LeVine Gallery and Spoon&Tamago.

Christian Russell Teo
Christian is an aspiring writer and food addict currently studying in NTU as a Linguistics major. Each day starts with a battle between man and bed. A metalhead at heart, he loves heavy riffs and blast beats as much as he does telling stories about the interesting and weird.