all photos by Tadayuki Minamoto
Born in 1973 in Osaka, Tanabe Chiku’unsai is a bamboo artist and craftsman that has been carrying on a family legacy that spans 4 generations. In 2017, at the age of 44, he was given the title of Chiku’unsai IV, making him the official bearer of his family’s craft of weaving, assembling and designing bamboo baskets. And while these pieces are stunning — works of art in their own right — where the 4th generation Chiku’unsai really excels is in going places where his ancestors haven’t: creating large-scale, site specific installations that engulf and encompass the spaces they’re constructed in.
Installation at Ginza Tsutaya Books (2020)
Tanabe Chiku’unsai uses the same weaving techniques that go into traditional baskets, but applies them to large-scale, billowing sculptures that often start at the ground but then twist and turn into the space, extending and sometimes latching onto walls and ceilings like it was some form of living organism.
Most recently, the artist wrapped up an exhibition at Ginza Tsutaya where he was celebrating a new anthology of works that had been published. Rather aptly, the book is available in small ($150 usd) and larger-than-life ($3,300 usd) sizes. If you’re in Japan right now you can see a combination of his works, both modern and traditional, at the Sakai Plaza of Rikyu and Akiko in Osaka (10/24 ～ 11/23/2020). You can of course see more of his work on his website and follow him on Instagram.