japanese art, design and culture

Posts from — September 2013

Atmospheric Reentry | Otherworldly Headdresses by Maiko Takeda

look7photos by Bryan Huynh, courtesy the artist



Gravity-defying forms and morphing colors characterize the extravagant, otherworldly headdresses created by milliner and jeweler Maiko Takeda. The London-educated Tokyoite painstakingly assembles her hats – if you can call them hats – first by cutting out her pointy shapes and then attaching them piece by piece to a larger structure.

The final creation, for its chaotic beauty, has been likened to everything from Hellraiser to hedgehogs, porcupines and caterpillars.

“I want to create surreal, subtle dramas around the person wearing my piece and the people near them,” says Takeda, in an interview with mb. She goes on to explain how Philip Glass’s opera “Einstein on the Beach” inspired her latest collection titled Atmospheric Reentry: “ It is a very repetitive, non-stop physical work. The actors move like machines, but at the same time you can see them sweating and running out of breath. I found that very interesting to watch. I felt the strong power of young people who have nothing to lose when I saw it. It was the simplest form of expression. That really touched my heart.”






Takeda began touching hearts, and turning heads, this year when – just 2 weeks after her MFA show – Bjork chose to wear her pieces on her Biophilia tour, which just ended earlier this month. “I couldn’t believe it! …I wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable for her to sing in. I went to bed thinking she probably wouldn’t wear it in the end,” recalls Takeda. “In the morning I woke up to seeing pictures of Björk on the internet wearing my headpiece. That was the most rewarding moment for me.”

Here are some photos of Takeda assembling one of her headdresses.

taikeda_1photos by Dan Whilton for mb | click to enlarge






source: mb! magazine | ignant | Maiko Takeda

September 30, 2013   2 Comments

Crumpled paper sculptures by Miki Kubota


Miki Kubota
uses recognizable 2D images to create voluminous 3D sculptures by crumpling the prints and sculpting larger structures. The final creation places the viewer in a disorienting position as they attempt to reconcile the relationship between the image and sculpture. “Surprise is said to be a reaction of seeing something for the first time,” says Kubota, in a statement about her work. “But, in fact, our emotions are linked to our memories by analogy, creating surprise, fear or laughter when we encounter something we’ve seen before.”

You can see more of her work on her website or at hpgrp gallery.

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September 30, 2013   Comments Off

Yasuyuki Takagi Photographs Empty Lots in the Wild

yasuyuki takagi (1)Photos courtesy Artligue and the artist | click to enlarge

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It’s interesting to compare the empty lots that Yasuyuki Takagi has been exploring and documenting. “Nature has always been elusive and very attractive to me,” says the Japanese photographer. “The natural world of forests, rivers, desserts, and wild animals was something I craved. It seems endless and life too short to see it all.” In a series of photographs taken in Yakushima, a remote island south of Kyushu, Takagi captures an ancient community of tree trunks covered in moss. It’s an island impervious to time, but brings the passage of it to the forefront. In a sense, the chaos of the serenity is much like that of a large city.

Relocating to one of the world’s largest, ever-expanding cities: New York, the photographer’s current home. In a sort of parallel series titled “brooklyn lot recordings,” Takagi captures overgrown empty lots in Brooklyn. The haunting photographs are made all the more powerful by their transience – their ability to capture time. “Weeds grew tall, the sounds of the East River gurgled through an abandoned dock… I turned around and photographed a wall. There it was; a shot of a torn wall, a faded graffiti tag, and weeds growing up through the snow,” says Takagi, describing the scene. “It is all gone now.”

Yasuyuki Takagi will be displaying his series of empty Brooklyn lots at Bushwick gallery Lorimoto in an exhibition opening tomorrow, Saturday Sept 28, 2013 (6-9pm). “Front Line” will be on display at Lorimoto through October 27th.

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September 27, 2013   Comments Off

Rokko Meets Art | Ryosuke Imamura Transforms the Forest into a Miniature Town

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One thing you don’t expect to find when hiking through a forest are lamp posts. And if you were to find these symbols of civilization and technology you may perhaps be a little upset that you haven’t yet escaped the clutches of development. But if those lamp posts were miniature, you’re suddenly overcome with an entirely different experience.

This is the artwork of Ryosuke Imamura, a 31-year old artist who sculpted numerous miniature lamp posts from clay and metal and strategically placed them along a hiking path on Mt. Rokko. Encountering one is both surprising and enchanting. Surprising because they’re unexpected but also because they’re so small you easily could have missed them. Enchanting because it hints of a miniature town nearby, leading to all sorts of magical fantasies.

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This post is part of a short series highlighting artists participating in the outdoor Rokko Meets Art festival going on right now.

September 26, 2013   1 Comment

Rokko Meets Art | Misa Funai’s mirror art

funai_01images courtesy the artist

Misa Funai creates wall-mounted oases out of mirrors, transforming entire rooms into magical landscapes. The mirrors act a portal, carrying the viewer back and forth between 2D and 3D, ideal and imaginary worlds.

Funai has an installation of mirrors on display in the lobby of Mt. Rokko Hotel. She’s created a large-scale representation of mountains, birds and other animals you might find in the great outdoors.





This post is part of a short series highlighting artists participating in the outdoor Rokko Meets Art festival going on right now.

September 25, 2013   Comments Off

The world’s first inflatable concert hall will begin touring ravaged areas of Japan

arc nova inflatable concert hall (8)all photos courtesy Lucerne Art Festival Arc Nova 2013

About 1 year ago we reported that renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki will team up with British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor to create an inflatable concert hall. Dubbed Arc Nova, the mobile venue will tour the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged areas of Tohoku, delivering hope and encouragement in the form of music.

Well it appears that the structure is almost complete. Photos on their facebook page reveal what the interior and exterior of the completed structure looks like. Arc Nova takes about 2 hours to inflate and holds roughly 500 people. The wooden benches were completed during a workshop in August, in which volunteers showed up and used wood from tsunami-damaged cedar trees at Zuiganji Temple in Matsushima.

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In speaking to the Telegraph, Anish Kapoor said: “Ark Nova is the first mobile inflatable concert hall. We felt that the site in Matsushima, amidst the destruction of the tsunami, needed a temporary structure and an inflatable seemed to be appropriate.”

The concert hall was established in collaboration with organizers of the Swiss Lucerne Festival. “The images of 11 March, 2011 have left their mark on all of us,” said the organizers. “With the Lucerne Festival Ark Nova Project we hope to give the people who are living with this situation something more than everyday pleasure. Combining different arts and cultures, this project is a fascinating symbiosis of architecture, design, folkloristic and classical music as well as music education.”

The first performance is scheduled for October 12th. The complete line-up can be found on their website.

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September 24, 2013   5 Comments

Rokko Meets Art | Jun Kitagawa is unzipping the world one zip at a time

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Jun Kitagawa accidentally became an artist when he found himself stuck with an inventory of t-shirts that would not sell. He decided to dispose of them by going around town and “covering up” nude statues – a stunt that, depending on where you are on the spectrum of cultural politics, could be considered either an act of vandalism or public service.

Kitagawa’s art has since evolved but his penchant for public spaces and an emphasis on humor still remains. One of his most fascinating works are an ongoing series in which he installs 3-dimensional zippers in various public spaces around Japan, offering an intimate look – one that’s often left up to the imagination – into our world. “I like to surprise people with a light eroticism,”* explains Kitagawa in a statement.

*all quotes translated by the author

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This post is part of a short series highlighting artists participating in the outdoor Rokko Meets Art festival going on right now.

September 24, 2013   1 Comment

Rokko Meets Art | Rokko Shidare by Hiroshi Sambuichi

This week we’ll be showcasing a few artists who are currently showing at Rokko Meets Art, an outdoor arts festival that is running November 24th. The splendid outdoor museum is on Mt. Rokko, which boasts fantastic views, gorgeous autumn foliage and is easily accessible from Kobe or Osaka.

Rokko Shidare - Hiroshi Sambuichi (6)Photos by Katsuhisa Kida/FOTOTECA

One of the main attractions is Rokko Shidare, a structure built 3 years ago by eco-conscious architect Hiroshi Sambuichi. Dubbed “the nature sensory observation deck,” the dome was built almost entirely from hinoki wood and operates on solar and wind power alone. The structure is comprised of numerous hexagons and was designed to attract frost in the winter. And in summer it’s designed to pull in the wind through an opening in the ceiling making it super cool and breezy.

When the sun sets “Lightscape in Rokko” kicks in, lighting up the entire structure with LED lights capable of expressing over 10 million different colors.

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September 23, 2013   Comments Off

NEWLINE | Hideki Inaba’s Vector Drawings


“The essence of drawing is the line exploring space,” said Andy Goldsworthy, the preeminent land artist. And no other artworks feels more true to that quote than Hideki Inaba’s line drawings, which explore space in a most beautiful fashion, leaving behind it a visual trail of energy.

The self-taught artist and graphic designer began a side-project in 2004 titled NEWLINE – essentially a body of work the created on his own will and volition. At a new exhibition taking place at the trendy CrossHotel in Sapporo, Inaba will be showing his collection of work in a show titled VECTA. The exhibition closes November 3, 2013 at which point it will travel abroad to Taiwan and Shanghai.





source: hitspaper

September 23, 2013   Comments Off

vertical emptiness | a crystalized installation of tree branches and hot glue by Yasuaki Onishi

yasuaki onishi vertical emptiness  (1)photos by Takuya Oshima | click to enlarge

The Osaka-based artist Yasuaki Onishi recently completed an installation at Kyoto Art Center, a former Elementary school turned art gallery. Tree branches hang from the ceiling upside down. Draped from them are hot glue and crystallized urea compounds that extend down to the ground, creating a dense forest, frozen in time, that connects our ground to an imaginary world. Standing behind the branches is a large, black panel made from black glue and graphite. It stands in stark contrast to the vertical emptiness in front of it.

Interestingly, Onishi’s current installation in itself is a stark contrast to his previous work. Typically, the artist has used hot black glue to drape plastic sheeting to create spatial forms that are at once monumental and voluminous yet airy.

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Onishi will also be participating in Rokko Meets Art, an outdoor art exhibition that we’ll be highlighting next week.

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Onishi Yasuaki – vertical emptiness from Kuroyanagi Takashi on Vimeo.

source: submission

September 20, 2013   Comments Off