Thursday, 15 December 2011
Here's a slightly strange one. The artist Kenji Yanobe is known for his post-apocalypse-style, anime-inflected creations of imaginary "atom suits" and machinery, and his, for example, "Standa" – a large sculpted figure which unfolds as it detects radiation to turn its face to a "sun". Taro Okamoto is also known for his anti-nuclear mural which hangs in Shibuya station, his many sculptures, sometimes in public places, across Japan – notably the "Tower of the Sun" in Osaka. Okamoto is now dead, and Yanobe is a contemporary artist who, in a current exhibition inherits part of the mantle of Okamoto with his specially created new "Sun Child" at the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum. The video above comes from that museum and celebrates the work and the history of both artists – including an image of Yanobe wearing one of his creations in the ruins of a school in Chernobyl. But the video passes without a mention of Fukushima. Is it taken as read (as The Japan Times assumes in its review)? Or deemed inappropriate or difficult to mention – even though both artists have works questioning nuclear power or disasters? A case of bad timing? Or good timing for Yanobe's suits which always seemed entirely fictitious before and now don't need an obvious link – a link that may seem tasteless or an abuse of a disaster for publicity? (Does it take time and distance, like that we have from the Chernobyl accident?)
I've enjoyed seeing various shows of Yanobe's work before, so I'll try to see this one.