human suit

HS, Human Suit is an artistic proposal that digs into the duality of the tangible and intangible, the visible and invisible, the physical and immaterial of the human being.  Through 29 oil on canvas paintings and multidisciplinary artistic expressions such as painting, sculpture, installation, video and design, Man Yu and her guest artists reflect the humanity historic intention of proving its abstract truths, its souls, with the ephemeral of its creations, and knowing that the essential cannot be demonstrated by itself without physical interventions that seek to prolong and decipher each particle of its expirable materialization full of unanswered realities to the question that is repeated insistently in each of the artworks: “What Are We?

The first work in the collection was executed in 1987. Man Yu, immersed in this premature reflection, materialized for the first time this dense and abstract concept when she was only 9 years old. However, it was not until 2013 when Man Yu felt the call to delve again into this recurrent question to be answered through her brush. The first human suit was painted as an impotent relief, but the subsequent artworks are the work of transforming this catharsis into poetry and communication

More about the project here.

Processes can be viewed in detail here and in social media.


Year: 1987

Technique: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 60 x 50 cm (23,6 x 19,7’’)


I painted something a little disturbing for any 9-year-old girl: A size medium leather suit hanging on a hanger next to a wooden cradle in a dark corner of a room. I knew that the skin was just a suit and that my real-self rested in the crib, which at first sight, was empty

–Man Yu.


the message

TH intends to awaken people's conscience to lead them to a more acute curiosity of introspection about why? And for what? of its existence. It is intended that the message reaches the largest number of people to question and value their human suits as the only physical aspect of being and at the same time the only instrument or representative of being. The above through the development of the project in the form of a circuit that encompasses different artistic expressions, involves several exhibition venues of different executive nature, promotes the participation of other artists and the interaction of the visiting public, to create a greater impact and deepening of people .


Ther artistic proposal suggests the search for an invisible truth that only through silence, meditation, introspection, art, could be revealed. Human Suit is a psychological, psychic, emotional, spiritual input, beyond the current scope of Western science, closer to the quantum aspect, which promotes going beyond the physical eyes.


Human Suit originates from bullying, at the level of introspection and also at the level of the creative process. From ther one urges us to recognize that we are beyond the physical aspect that usually conditions us and by which, often, we are socially discriminated against by different characteristics: sex, color, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, social class. Given ther self-recognition of the human body as only a "suit", it is possible to understand that, although some of these characteristics condition us, they do not really limit us. For example, as a person, having a broken and dirty uniform may not comply with the label of certain spaces and may not serve us to work in certain occupations, but it does not make us less valuable as persons; It is simply the suit we had to live with, the only one.


Consequently and in contrast, that "suit" also has its advantages and abilities in certain contexts, so that, given that recognition, we can empower ourselves with that "suit." Man Yu often explains with the example that a fireman's uniform might seem heavy and hot, and we could complain about using it if we don't know that we can actually save people from fires. Also, when recognizing the capabilities of the "suit" we must be aware of the value it has and the importance of taking care of it.


In addition to ther aspect of self-recognition of the individual, it is also aroused to understand that differences in positions before the Human Suit cause affinities and / or differences in interpersonal relationships, so that if two people are not in tune with respect to what They feel about themselves, there may be fracture points in their relationship.


In ther way, although bullying is used as an initial introspection theme that allows for ther recognition in people, Human Suit encompasses spiritual themes such as the recognition of the different layers of being; social issues such as discrimination, racism, sexism, sexual orientation; interpersonal issues such as rupture, love, complicity, empowerment, submission, control; among others that may derive from understanding that humans are much more than the skin we wear.


Going deeper into the creative process, the bullying that Man Yu suffered as a child was what led her to study more deeply about that skin that surrounds the being that defines identity. On a social level, because of the ethnic segregation caused by migration, bullying led Man Yu to believe that she was flawed, irrelevant and unpleasant.


He painted her 1st oil painting called "Human Suit" at age 9. She painted how she felt at that moment, vulnerable, sad, scared, broken ... A tired adult skin hung on a clothes hanger. Beside that "human suit" was her bed, a crib in the corner of the room as a metaphor for her soul that is innocent like a baby's and how her environment was about to destroy her childhood.


Many works of the sample used the same elements of the 1st Human Costume work that Man Yu painted as a child. Human skin represents the body that touched us. The clothes hook represents the ephemeral time that sustains our physical life. Apart from these elements, Man Yu also added new ones that are not found in that picture, such as bodies in gray tones, which represent our metaphysical bodies, the true "I"; red threads, which represent the blood that make the mechanics of our “suit” and needles that patch our “human suit.” All the works, the 29 oil paintings on canvas, indicate that there is something essential inside our skin. On the other hand, elements such as the mirror and the desks, are more than works, teaching resources that allow the viewer to be framed within the reality of the artist and the context of conceptualization of the message exposed in the works.


Some paintings such as "Liberation," "Goodbye," "Attachment" point to the body as a prison and subtly suggest internalization to free us from the false identity that limits us, and they reflect how this need for liberation is sometimes a reason for separation. of two people who have positions before their different costumes.


In contrast, works such as "The Kiss", "The Embrassement", "In Love", reveal that the body is what proves all existence, that only through bodies, can we love, separate, express love. In addition, they reflect the harmony in which people who are on the same level of self-recognition of their suits are.


Some works, such as "The Portal", "Materialization", "Power" and "The Lineage", describe our desire to possess this sophisticated "suit" to experience, make, be and evolve, since, without it, how to exist in this plane ?, as well as reflect the great value of having a suit. But at the same time, there are works such as "A Complete Stranger", "The Other Face", "The Third Opinion" and "Shopping 1", which warn us about the deceptions and illusions that the "suit" causes when perceptions and decisions are based solely on material, earthly aspects of being.


On the other hand, works such as "Shopping 2", "The left glove", "Right glove", "A New Garment", explicitly show the very basic concept of the recognition of the "suit" itself empowering us with the capabilities that we are awarded with the human suit. On the other hand, some works such as "Protection", "The Fall" and "Somnolence" were created to describe strong and inexplicable feelings that transcend the physicality of people. Other works such as "The Perfect Plan" and "The Perfect Suit" deepen the satisfaction and fullness of being aware of the functions of the suit and the function it fulfills in our existence, understanding that the perfect suit can be the one that does not exist, so like the one given to us, whatever.


Man Yu also sows existential questions with creations such as "Sentence", "Some Open Eyes", "The Dilemma", which start from the perspective of the soul or an ethereal aspect, to raise questions about how important is really physical existence?



Based on questions about the ephemerality of current artistic efforts in the contemporary context of communications, technology and rhythm of life, Iris Lam, cultural project manager, explains that it is necessary to expose the works of Man Yu and his guest artists of such so that the message really reaches people. This implies the maintenance of the attention in the exhibitions through activations that invite the public to visit the rooms of the galleries and museums of the circuit.


Thus, the Human Suit exhibition circuit exposes a series of works that invite viewers to a deep introspection about the reasons for existence, starting with the self-recognition of our skin as just another layer of our reality. However, Man Yu makes it explicit that recognizing it as a purely physical aspect does not detract from it, because it is through it that we are given the ability to evolve through the experiences that can be lived only by owning a suit human.


Likewise, by deepening that the differences that generally divide society are of a purely physical or material origin, the Human Suit project attacks discriminatory social problems, between xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, disability discrimination, image, among other types of discrimination have different human suits. In this way, being these imminent problems of all times and places, Human Suit contributes to minimizing them to create a more positive sociocultural environment for the development of people, especially in response to the manifestations of hate that have been evident between 2018 and 2019.


On the other hand, the circuit format in which the Human Suit project is developed, encourages the creation of inter-institutional, inter-organizational and inter-artist networks that increase the dynamization of culture and creativity. This allows, through networking, different entities can contribute from their different natures and possibilities to the expansion, deepening and dissemination of a single humanist, social and spiritual message.


Likewise, the inclusion of artists from different disciplines (visual arts, installation, video, design, performance, music) contributes to having a more integrated vision of the different arts. This allows the artists themselves to explore the possibilities of joint work around messages that can be communicated in different artistic languages ​​and, therefore, have greater depth in audiences that are more related to an artistic expression than to others.


In this way, guest artists such as Diego Esquivel, with his videomapping piece, reinterprets Human Suit on the play "The perfect suit"; Helen Núñez and Julián García work on video art together with Man Yu social concepts to which we humans are tied and conditioned from the suit that touched us; Vernny Argüello develops an audiovisual script by Man Yu that delves into the virtual layers that are positioned above the human suit; as well as Cristian Esquivel, Estefanía Madrigal and Niaballet dancers interprets the heaviness of the skin and physical existence through performance.


Likewise, musicians Ronald Bustamante, Leonardo Gell, Marcela Membreño and David Castillo, perform presentations as guest artists in different activations of the project, along with the performance and singing of Laura Barquero. And besides, Zoe June Zeegelar, Rogelio Fernández, David Castillo, Andrea Rojas, Alejandro Peinador, Alana Peinador and Abbie Chang collaborate with their performances in front of the videoart camera.


The contributions of these artists point to the message of Human Suit deepening and expanding through the complementation of the pictorial work of Man Yu, and are an official part of the itinerant exhibition project along with the collection of 29 oil paintings.


activities calendar



01/11/2018 al 16/12/2018

National Gallery, Costarrican Center for the Science and Arts, San José

Official exhibition of the Human Suit Circuit that stays at the National Gallery for one and a half month. Guided visits and conversatories will be holded about related topics of Human Suit with professionals of different specialties as special guests. The 28 pictoric artworks will be showcased together with various installations and the 5 videoarts and the videomapping.


01/11/2018 19:00

Official opening of the Human Suit Circuit


With Nía Madrigal guest performance artist, in addition to videomapping by Diego Esquivel and live music by Laura Barquero.


16/11/2018 17:00 - 21:00

Art City Tour route

Guided visits by Man Yu and Diego Esquivel.


13/12/2018 19:00

"The Human Closet" Fashion Show

The closing of the exhibition period will take place with a catwalk where 40 designs developed by fashion designers from the Universidad Creativa will be exhibited, who will base their creations on the Human Costume concept, guided by Rob Chamaeleo. The fashion collections of Laura Vargas Tuk, Pamela Vargas, Joselyn Lam, Kendry Guido, Maureen Berrocal, Tatiana Marín, Yorleny Artavia, Jimena Sanz, Gimena Ramírez, Cristi Blanco and Sheyla Palma are presented. At the same time, Nía Madrigal and her Niaballet team, together with Cristian Esquivel, present their introspective performances with the catwalk.

“With Human Suit, the idea is that people can recognize that this skin we wear is one more layer, a clothing, a garment that we had to wear. I wanted fashion designers to be incorporated precisely because it is on a catwalk where a garment is officially validated as a garment. For example, a rag, a sack, a piece of cloth, is socially accepted as part of clothing only when it goes through the validation of the fashion industry ”highlights Man Yu.

Likewise, it is about the concept being able to reach as many people as possible, and, understanding that we all have different artistic affinities, it was important to incorporate into the fashion design through which messages could be communicated through a sartorial language, reaching So to more people. In this way, young talents who explore with impetus their artistic expression through fashion design become another means, with their tools, like me, with mine, to communicate a universal message.


27/01/2019 al 25/03/2019

Cartago Municipal Museum, Cartago.

The exhibition moves to meet other audiences, especially conservatives, in which the artist with her works intends to broaden the vision and conceptualization that viewers have about artistic nude. The sample stays for 2 months in which conversations and guided visits will be held on topics related to the Human Suit with special guests. The 28 total pictorial works of the Man Yu collection are presented, as well as some of its facilities, the 5 videoarts directed by Vernny Argüello, Helen Núñez and Julián R. García and the videomapping by Diego Esquivel, as well as a new work pictorial of TH, Re-Born.


27/1/2019 11:00

Opening of Human Suit in Cartago


With the invited artists of Nia Ballet with Juan Dahik, Diego Esquivel and Cristian Esquivel for two acts of performance, videomapping and live music.


30/03/2019 al 24/05/2019

TEC Center for the Arts, Cartago

A special curatorship of 14 of the 29 works of Human Suit is presented in the gallery of the Center of Arts of the TEC, to meet with the university public, in formation of critical positions in the immediate national context.


04/04/2019 al 26/05/2019

Cultural Center of Spain, San José.

Group exhibition "Trajines" that unfolds its concept in the deepening of the different experiences, daily life, perspectives, stories, experiences that people develop involuntarily and conditioned to their Human Suit, their skin. The exhibition will have 1 installation by Man Yu and 10 guest artists from different artistic and style disciplines who will present their introspections related to their own "costume": Ángel Lara, with sculpture; Juan José Durán (Monsieur Durán), with fashion illustration; Alejandro Rambar, with paper design; Andrés Valverde (, with photography; Helen Núñez and Julián García, with video; Vernny Argüello, with video; Diego Esquivel, with videomapping; and e the outstanding designers of the TH catwalk, Sheyla Palma Hay and Yorleny Artavia, with fashion design. Cristian Esquivel presents his performance with Evo.

As a play on words, the exhibition has the title "Trajines", referring to the coincidences and causalities of life and hustle and bustle "meaning of the word trajín" that leave their mark on people, at the same time it is expressed as diminutive of the word suit, reflecting how small the difficulties become when they are overcome. The exhibition emphasizes personal experience.

In the exhibition, Man Yu exposes an installation that reflects an interpretation of his external and internal experiences related to a childhood taken away by bullying caused by “dressing” a human suit different from that of others: a suit of an Asian girl in the School Católica Activa, in San José, 1987. In addition to showing the “trajín” of Man Yu, other artists are invited to do introspection and share their own “trajines” associated with their “human costumes”, that is, to tell those stories that from aspects of their physical existence, of their human attire, influenced their decisions and course of life.

In this way, as a collective exhibition, it has the function of representing the unity, network, parallelism, correlations and affinities of humanity, through similar stories found among people who do not necessarily know each other, but are connected. “Trajines” originates these meeting points, reunion, identification and reidentification, with themselves and with Man Yu, making this network visible where we are all connected.


04/4/2019 19:00

Opening of the group show "Trajines" at the Cultural Center of Spain

With the performance by Cristian Esquivel and videomapping by Diego Esquivel.


17/05/2019 19:00

Coffetime with Man Yu: Videoart projection and conversation with Man Yu in the TEC Center for Arts

A coffee afternoon with Man Yu to talk -in a more comfortable way- about the whole creative and productive experience of Human Suit, the collection and the circuit, after the large-screen projection of videoarts developed in conjunction with Vernny Argüello, Helen Núñez and Julián R. García.



10/07/2019 17:00 - 21:00

Art City Tour route by the Cultural Center of Spain

Man Yu guided visits.


14/06/2019 al 21/06/2019

Beijing World Art Museum, Beijing, China

A special curatorship of 14 of the 29 works of Human Suit is presented at the China Millenium Monument, in the Beijing World Art Museum, as an official Costa Rican representation at the 6th Latin American and Caribbean Art Festival in Beijing.


30/08/2019 16:00

Performance/happening in the public space, Francia Park - Skawak Plaza, Barrio Escalante, San José

Man Yu this time tries to shake passersby in a public space, with a disturbing performance / happening also referring to Human Suit Man Yu has been recruiting participants openly so that the event is collective, participatory, inclusive and intuitive. "I am not this garment" aims to follow the same aesthetic line of the series and at the same time allow participants to freely project themselves in the various social, psychological, emotional or spiritual reasons that motivated them to be incorporated into the artistic proposal. The content of the performance / happening is completely surprising, so Man Yu invites you and invites everyone to witness or be part of this unforgettable work of art, experienced or inexperienced, professional or natural, regardless of their physical qualities.

I am not this suit", the performance work of this great closure, is the name of this simple act of many people who exhibit their human costumes, in a place visible by the public, without taking refuge after a constructed identity, representing the collective consciousness as a single being. Some of those who participate, do so for unconditional love of art, others for living that unique and unrepeatable adventure, but many, the majority, do so to face themselves either physically, socially, psychologically, emotionally or spiritually.


Each participant battles against himself, his fears, his demons, in a moment so critical, so vulnerable and at the same time free, that they have nothing left but to love and cling to themselves as being and not as a body. It is expected that participants or spectators can release their human trajines, even for a very short time during the construction of the work. However, it is not known what each person will feel, there are endless possibilities. My role as an artist is to offer some tools, to set the stage indicated, so that collectively and individually, we can all experience for a moment, the Human Suit effect.

With the special presentation of Antisentido and  Evo. | +506 8893 0023

San José, Costa Rica | All rights reserved January 2021 Man Yu  

  • Man Yu Facebook
  • Man Yu Instagram
  • Man Yu YouTube
  • Man Yu Twitter
  • Man Yu Tik Tok
  • Man Yu Linked In