Man who saw the Unknown World
May 2013 330x326x500 mm
He has seen the abyss of the universe.
Having been deprived of speech and free body movement, he is nonetheless one of the most exceptional theoretical physicists since Einstein, a rare figure. He maneuvers his electric chair with eye movement alone, and talks of the universe he has seen through his voice machine. His mind flies to the ends of the universe tens of thousands of light years away, observes the expanse, and conveys it to us.
His brain, which is about the size of two fists, understands the birth and death of a star, the rise and fall of the universe. The fact that the small universe nested in a skull can contain the immeasurable span of time and space never ceases to interest me. Then, I am reminded that we are made of space dust after all.
At the top of the art piece is a self-made planetarium. When I was seven, a younger genius boy in my neighborhood showed me his model of a planetarium made from a cardboard box. Miniature bulbs were attached inside, and the device operated with precision on a motor. That excitement was revived by my exposure to Dr. H’s cosmic view.
April 2013 200x230x617 mm
This man is my triathlon mentor. A dentist by vocation, he is committed to promoting sports in communities and expanding triathlon competitions. He is respected by many young athletes.
He is not only my mentor in sports, but has a great understanding of my creative works. As it happens, my father was his elementary school teacher which, among other things, brought us closer as artist and supporter. I designed his clinic renovation as well as created some paintings for him.
He says he prefers running the most among the three programs in triathlon - swimming, biking and running. His view on running is borderline philosophic. I often find him running through a nearby park, washed in sunlight filtering through the trees on his daily jaunt. I do not know why he is so disciplined to keep running, but he does not seem to have any particular reason, nor does he seem to consider running a chore at all.
As if running is living, running itself is breathing; he simply goes on.
A young man once asked him, “What is beyond the goal you reach with such endurance?” He laughed as he replied, “Beyond the goal awaits beer, that’s all!”
Carousel on Venice beach
December 2012 250x280x520 mm
My wife likes carousel rides. She seemed to favor it since childhood, and enjoys riding it to this day whenever she finds one in a park. It is hard for me to understand why a ride that simply keeps turning is fun.
During our first trip to the United States, my wife and I visited LA. There was a carousel on Venice Beach and my wife enjoyed her ride. I created this piece based on that memory with my wife.
The view from a carousel seems to repeat itself, but with a slight change each time. This strikes me as a mirror image of life. We seem to repeat our follies throughout life, yet each one is never quite the same because most exact encounters are once-in-a-lifetime. I was reminded of this as I watched my wife waving at me from the carousel.
This piece can also be utilized as a cinerary urn. I have wanted to express my view of life-and-death for some time, and this piece does so.
October 2012 170x180x570 mm
Now that LED bulbs are becoming mainstream, filament bulbs are looked upon as having a negative impact on the environment and lacking durability. With LED bulbs’ advanced ability to reduce electric consumption, filament bulbs, with more than a century of continuous development and use, are on the brink of disappearance. This art piece was created to pay homage to filament bulbs.
Come to think of it, Thomas Edison, the master of invention and the so-called creator of filament bulbs, is the father of the electric industry, and we read about him in our childhood textbooks. However, having learned about the dubious entrepreneurial side of this genius, together with changes in the electric industry and in Edison’s deified image, the decline of the electric bulb seems to mark the end of an era.
A century ago, Nikola Tesla was in a feud with Edison. The recent improvement in the more practical use of Nikola’s radio transmission system has sparked greater interest in Tesla’s achievements, which were ignored by Edison. Only now can we appreciate the allusion to the irony of times.
There is a unit of measure called “lux”, which quantifies a light’s luminance. It is the smallest unit that marks a single candle’s luminance over a meter’s distance. Since a filament lamp of 100v40w produces 400 lux, it is equivalent to 400 candles.
From candle to filament to LED, light continues to become more compact and difficult to grasp with our senses. It seems less likely in the future that we will revere light as God or personify it.
January 2011 320x250x560 mm
Toru, a gay friend of mine, is an excellent waiter at a restaurant where I was in charge of artwork. He always serves meals to my family and me in an entertaining manner. Toru has a fantastic aesthetic sense, is deeply empathetic, and quite amusing.
This piece is based on Toru’s image, although he does not wear false lashes or makeup.
A child’s brain diverges into male or female as early as age three, hence, I created this piece with the hope of peeking into the head where male and female brains coexist.
The top of the head has a lid with a jewelry case inside.
The Man who Flies
December 2010 180x200x520 mm
This is a piece I made while imagining how a man could fly using only his body.
A hat with a propeller whose wearer can fly anywhere was the inspiration for this shape. The hat, called “Takecopter”, appeared in the Japanese animation “Doraemon.” My piece has two propellers attached to the head.
Yearning to be in the sky, humans learned how to fly by observing birds. However, if humans had considered watching insects instead, a helicopter-like structure may have been invented first.
People who do not hesitate to have cosmetic surgery to achieve physical perfection might, in the near future, implant a device in their body in order to obtain physical powers beyond their abilities. Like this sculpture, human flight via a propeller attached to the head could become a reality.
For this piece, the propeller moves when the lever is turned.
The Art lover
August 2011 190x200x445 mm
Mr. T. I. is among those who greatly influenced my creativity. He was one of the first to purchase my work and gave me ample advice not only on sculpting but also on design and various artistic productions. He has been an inspiration to me.
Mr. T. I. is an avid opera fan and listens to opera and classical music every morning and evening. Musicians come to his vacation house where he hosts intimate concerts. Thanks to Mr. T. I., I have been able to enjoy opera and ballet, which became a major influence for me to create art.
He also has a small farm where he grows his own organic vegetables, and enjoys preparing them for his original recipes. The way he leads his life has been a guidepost for my future, as this lifestyle is the ideal that I dream of.
A midnight Merry-Go-Raund
March 2011 225x265x540 mm
The artist of J-Pop which I like has Ttsuro Yamashita. There is a music of "The merry-go-round" in his tune. As for the words of music that lovers steal into the amusement park at midnigh. It was the merry-go-round which many recollections were put around from before. However, it is only lighted by moonlight now, and it doesn't move.
They are the romantic story that it is impressed with falling in love with the lover sympathy-less of the flow at such time.
A merry-go-round is symbolic existence as a vehicle of the amusement park. I dislike stepping onto this, and I am watching it chiefly. Because it can feel like the one to be watching the person who to be happy on merry-do-raund. This work was made to work by hand to see it and to be enjoyable, too.
Incidentally, the animal "horse" "rabbit" "chicken" "pig" who went around with this work was based on the zodiac signs. But, they are the animals who could be seen near the house in my childhood, too.
A rabbit Holding flower
December 2010 180x200x520 mm
2011 was the year of the rabbit, so I was inspired to create one. This piece is a remake of the rabbit image from “Animal Caricatures”, and the finished work closely resembles the famed Peter Rabbit.
While rabbits in Japanese folk tales are typically wicked and cunning liars, this work depicts the delightful, gentle representation of rabbits.
In the world of the Tea Ceremony, utensils and images with rabbit motifs are often used, so this sculpture was produced to be used for tea ceremonies. A vase that can be inserted into the rabbit’s chest for holding flowers adds a whimsical touch.
October 2010 170x320x440 mm
“Wow, what a moon! It’s like a paper moon…” This is the opening sentence of my yet-to-be-released novel. I have created a work of art based on the novel’s heroine. In this novel, an older man and a young woman begin a bittersweet romance as the woman utters those words upon seeing the mysterious colored moon through the spaces between buildings.
Once, a Buddhist monk made the following statement in his talk: “The way to remain young at old age is to always be in love.” From a neuroscientific point of view, a brain activating substance is secreted during an excited state, such as being in love. The excitement seems to revitalize the whole body and stimulate the metabolism.
That makes sense, but what about married couples? What sort of a thing is love in old age? I had to ponder.
There are some who idealistically say that we should keep falling in love with our spouse, however, while we may feel a deep love towards our spouse of many years, passion inevitably loses its spark. In the modern world where the idea of sex as the epitome of love is commonplace, has platonic love become a fossilized concept in the communication between mortals? In order to maintain our youth by falling in love without hurting anyone, it may be best to create a surrogate object of affection in our mind. Perhaps it is difficult to “live young.”
The pedestal represents dense buildings where, at the beginning of the novel, the two lovers walk the back street of a museum, which is represented here.
A life like a Cicada
November 2010 270x220x560 mm
When he turned sixty, Mr. M. began training for and competing in triathlons with me. Once, while on a training ride with me, he commented that his life was like that of a cicada. Through time spent with him, I came to understand that to be like a cicada, a happy life is made by actively accepting changes in one’s surroundings and appreciating living with a free mind.
After retiring from a top management position at a major company and looking back on his life, he may have identified with the life cycles of a cicada: His working years were like the larva under the earth, like a heavy sigh to him when he managed several thousand employees while at the frontline of a cutthroat corporate war. Then after retiring, he was like a cicada emerging from a pupa and flying into a new world.
Following the two dimensional view of a ground-crawling larva, Mr. M. seems to delight in and fully enjoy his new world, seeing a three-dimensional view as he flies about with his new wings. Mr. M does not waste his spare time solely on hobbies. He connects with people he meets while building a new life for himself. He is trying to link people with others, as a cicada leaves its descendants.
A boy playing the Violin
September 2010 380x320x640 mm
I was forced to learn the violin between the ages of 4 and 6.
My father and mother made the misguided mistake of wanting me to be a musician. They bought a children's violin and frantically focused on subjecting me to intensive training. For me, those were days of living hell.
It took 2 years for my parents to recognize that I had no musical talent whatsoever.
The other day I came across the violin in a storage closet. As it appeared to still be playable, I restored the violin and gave it to my granddaughter as a plaything.
To avoid making the same mistake as my father and mother, I present this work to all education-minded mothers and fathers.
Scissors Hand who lost his Brain
October 2011 300x200x470 mm
Mr. Iemasa Shirata, to whom I entrust to design and style my hair, was in his forties when he was diagnosed with having a brain tumor and underwent surgery to remove it.
Mr. Shirata was at the top of his field in the beauty industry and many feared that after the brain surgery his talents would be lost. However, contrary to those concerns, Mr. Shirata focused on his physical therapy exercises and recovered enough to be able to use the scissors in his hands again.The brilliance of his technique is that the look he creates through his hair-cut holds up even a month later.What kind of information was contained in the removed part of his brain?
This sculpture represents the removed part of his brain as a jewelry case.
Important things and small mementos will be saved from the part that was removed.
A sharp woman
April 2011 180x310x550 mm
In the history of mankind, the present day is probably an age when women more increasingly participate society and improve their social status than ever before since building of today's organizational society with male dominance.
In such male-dominated world, women's ability has been becoming to receive higher recognition day by day, however, there is a contradiction in that the women's ability is mostly evaluated by men. Women are improving their status in accordance with systems and standards established by the male-dominated world.
What would have happened if women had established systems of human society from scratch? Would the society have had its base on a social structure associated with the ancient animism?
Anyway, civilization by women would not be the one that shows off muscle, as women have less physical power. A civilization which does not depend on strong power means a civilization that has sophisticated skills for handling tools.
This work expresses a woman's head using an ax. Among many cutting tools, the ax is a tool that requires both physical power and skills to use. Needless to say, the work was produced based on the concept that she has sharp brain, but at the same time, by consciously showing the tool requiring delicate balance, I would like to think of civilization built by women.
The beads on the right side of her head imitate "Sorobam", a Japanese ancient calculator, which implies a woman living toughly and shrewdly.
A man trying to fly
May 2010 180x310x550 mm
The wing growing from his right ear represents man’s illusion, which is a wish created by the right brain (known for controlling the emotions).
Why does a man dream of flying?
Why do we humans try to become something other than ourselves?
Assuming that humans cannot live without wishes and strive to become something else and that having unfathomable dreams is like mental food for humans, it must be human nature to keep dreaming the impossible all the more for its impossibility.
A civilization built by mankind is the result of the actualization of such images or wishes. However, even there we see a pseudo-reality that is very different from the original image, or a reality that is colored by compromises. For example, although humans desire to fly from having an image of flying like birds, in reality, we cannot fly in the air without the aid of an airplane, that chunk of metal with noisy engines. Therefore we have to live within our reality which is far from our imagined way of birds in flight.
We humans thus live in an unrealistic world of romantic and surreal dreams sprung like the wing growing from the right brain.
March 2010 220x240x530 mm
It was early summer in 1995. A girl was walking along a dusty roadside in a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, with wearing men's leather shoe that was too big for her on her left foot only. The girl, who looked to be 12 or 13 years old, was laughing innocently with her friends. As one of street children, she lived from day to day with spending her time scavenging through garbage or stealing others' luggage. It was unlikely that such a girl went to school.
It was hard to know whether she was sharing right-and-left shoes with someone else, or she had barely got it after fierce scrambles, but anyway, the men's leather shoe, which might be an assistance material from some kind of NPO groups, was apparently her favorite.
Goods-oriented supports provided by advanced countries cause these children who have to live in the bottom of the society to produce such absurd scenery. However, even such a shoe that seemed hard to put on was the only property for her.
This work expresses relationship between the girl and the shoe by placing the leather shoe, her property, on her head. Here, the shoe is treated as the symbol of supports of advanced countries, at the same time, as the symbol of civilization.
The shoestring is not tied. The act of tying shoestrings is indicative of education. Here, the untied shoestring reflects the fact that the girl has never received an education.
She disappeared into orange-colored sunset in clouds of dust with dragging her left foot to keep the shoe on. A trail of shoe prints left by her dragged foot appeared to be questioning the meaning of civilization loaded with contradiction.
march 2008 200x300x410 mm
Production of this work which modeled on my dog Pongo was begun when he was close to the end of life.
Getting old and having difficulty to move around, he sometimes looked away and appeared to be talking with somebody who invisible to us, or sometimes stared at my face as if he was appealing something.
I originally started to produce the work with the intention of preparing an urn for him, and therefore, it was made so that his body from the neck down can be added.
Photo by Masaharu Tsutsumi
December 2006 150x230x430 mm
The work is modeled after my fried, Matsuo Shinpei, who was a cook, and passed away at the age of 50. We had friendship over 20 years.
After struck down with brain tumor, he never came back to the kitchen of his restaurant, but became a painter he had yearned to be and devoted himself to draw paintings.
At last, he could not get out of bed and began to wander into the world of dreams. When I saw him on the bed still working in preparation for opening his restaurant, with having invisible frying pan in his hands and sprinkling salt and pepper, I felt as if I saw his life flashing in front of me.
Not merely being a chef, he stuck to his own gastronomic world by pursuing his own taste even for interior of the restaurant, or design of serving dishes. He departed with looking forward to seeing this work completed.
In the work, I expressed his audacious appearance with the help of a rough sketch drawn about 5 years before his death. His hair is made of knives, forks and spoons.
Photo by Masaharu Tsutsumi