70-Foot, Immersive, Site-Specific Installation Constructed with 15,000 Bamboo Strips by Renowned Fourth-Generation Bamboo Artist
LOS ANGELES – July 6, 2022 – JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, a Japanese cultural destination in the heart of Hollywood, announces its upcoming exhibition “LIFE CYCLES: A Bamboo Exploration with Tanabe Chikuunsai IV” on display from July 28, 2022 – January 15, 2023. In his first-ever Los Angeles exhibition, renowned Japanese contemporary artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV pushes the boundaries of the bamboo art form with a site-specific, immersive bamboo installation, constructed with 15,000 woven bamboo strips held together with tension. Known for his massive works at museums and other venues around the world, Chikuunsai will build an installation – totaling 70 feet long – his longest installation to date. Visitors can engage with the dramatic, soaring form, viewing it from multiple angles as it twists and winds across the gallery.
An introductory section, with powerful artworks that hint at the main attraction, debuts ahead of the exhibition on July 13, with an overview of the Tanabe Chikuunsai family lineage – four generations who have been weaving bamboo into works of artistic and cultural importance for a century. Starting July 13 through July 23, the public can also view into the main gallery to observe the artist and his team as they create the spectacular, large-scale installation. A time-lapse video of the main installation’s fabrication will later be shown in the exhibit itself.
“We’re excited to highlight the Japanese cultural tradition of passing skills down from one generation to the next with this fourth-generation bamboo artist,” said Yuko Kaifu, president, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles. “As well as showcasing Chikuunsai’s creativity with bamboo, the exhibition also invites visitors to contemplate the life cycle of bamboo and the importance of sustainability, both in his recycling of bamboo in his work and in his conservation of Japan’s bamboo forests, or chikurin, for future generations.”
Chikuunsai is part of a lineage of bamboo artists based in the Kansai region of Japan, specifically the city of Sakai in Osaka prefecture. As he weaves bamboo strips, Chikuunsai reflects upon connections, or tsunagari, between humans and nature, present and past generations, and the cultures he brings together through his installations. As he harvests bamboo from the woods of Kochi in Shikoku, he also strives to nurture and preserve the forests. He dismantles each installation as an exhibition closes and saves the bamboo strips to use in his next work – creating a generational connection between his works, deliberately avoiding waste, and extending the bamboo’s life cycle.
For his site-specific installations, Chikuunsai previously used torachiku, or “tiger bamboo,” which has now become scarce. For this installation, he employs two other types of bamboo – madake (“Japanese timber bamboo”) and kurochiku (“black bamboo”).
The exhibition will also include related programs including: an Artist Talk and Live Demo with Tanabe Chikuunsai IV on opening day, July 28; a Bamboo Basket Webinar Talk on August 16 with Margo Thoma of Santa Fe’s TAI Modern; a Panel Discussion on Art and Sustainability; a Webinar on Bamboo Products; and food programs featuring tofu, vegetables, and bamboo shoots. More details will be announced soon. Check the events page for more details.
Admission to the exhibition is free. Walk-ins are invited and the gallery is open daily from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. (and until 8 p.m. July 29, 30, and 31).
Exhibition Credits: Presented by JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles; Exhibition Production: Tanabe Chikuunsai IV; Chikuunsai IV Installation Assistants/Apprentices: Nakamura Emika, Hayashi Jumpei, Ichikawa Yona, Hamada Yoshiaki; Exhibition Photography and Video: Minamoto Tadayuki, Hashiguchi Akiko; Exhibition Support: Yumekoubou, TAI Modern, Kanasaki Chikuzaiten, Yamagishi Chikuzaiten
Media Sponsors: KCRW, Los Angeles magazine
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JAPAN HOUSE is an innovative, worldwide project with three hubs – London, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo – conceived by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. It seeks to nurture a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan in the international community. Occupying two floors at Hollywood & Highland, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles offers a place of new discovery that transcends physical and conceptual boundaries creating experiences that reflect the best of Japan through its spaces and diverse programs.
Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028