Japanese bamboo artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV is one of Japan’s leading bamboo artists, the fourth artist in a lineage of bamboo basket makers from Sakai in Osaka prefecture. Like the generations before him, he weaves slender strips of bamboo into exquisite flower baskets and abstract sculptures, but he has also pushed the boundaries of basket weaving to create large-scale sculptures and installations. His work has won major awards in Japan and overseas and has been shown in museums and art spaces around the world.
In this video, Chikuunsai talks about his installation in our newest exhibition, LIFE CYCLES | A Bamboo Exploration with Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. Learn about the message behind Chikuunsai's work as well as the structure and technique used to create his longest installation yet.
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About Tanabe Chikuunsai IV
Tanabe Chikuunsai IV was born Tanabe Takeo in 1973. Like his father, Tanabe Chikuunsai III, he attended Osaka Kōgei High School, an art high school, and earned a degree in sculpture from Tokyo University of the Arts. As a young artist, Shōchiku III, he continued the tradition of making bamboo baskets and small-scale sculptures, but he also began collaborating with artists in other media. In 2011, he started creating large-scale dramatic, immersive installations that evoke the bamboo forests from which he sources his materials. In 2017, three years after the death of his father, he was given the name Chikuunsai IV.
Chikuunsai has received many awards in Japan, including the Mayor’s Award at the Sakai City Art Exhibition in 2001, the Osaka Craft Exhibition Choice Award at the All Kansai Art Exhibition in 2004, and the Outstanding Artist Award from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in March 2022. Internationally, he has created installations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the Odunpazarı Modern Museum (OMM) in Eskişehir, Turkey, and his work is in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He won the first Mingei Bamboo Prize (awarded by the Guimet Museum in Paris and the Mingei Gallery) in 2021.