If you grew up in Japan in the 70s and 80s you most certainly remember Plarail, the blue plastic train tracks that could be latched together to create sprawling labyrinths of rail for toy trains. Yasuhiko Hayashi and Yusuke Nakano of Paramodel certainly do. Both born in the 70s, the duo began using the iconic toys as a basis for creating their sprawling installation art. And now their very first exhibition in the U.S. has opened.
Hosted at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), “paramodelic-graffiti” is meticulously designed and crafted using Plarail tracks, toy cranes, small animal figurines and other artifacts of childhood to create a fantastical miniature world. Curator Natsu Oyobe explains that “There are many aspects of Paramodel’s work that resemble children’s play. In paramodelic-graffiti, the artists draw inspiration especially from the open-endedness of how children play—the way in which a block construction or a chalk drawing can infinitely expand as long as time, energy, and resources permit.”
The exhibition is up through January 4, 2015 but if you can’t make it to the Museum you can check out more pictures on their flickr site.
Back in 2006 Paramodel created a similar installation in a Japanese public bath house (sento) and have since created various iterations of the work.