Tokyo-based architect and artist Kazumasa Noguchi is currently showing his solo exhibit, ‘So Close, Yet Not So Far Tour’, at the Time Out Café & Diner’s Gallery Space on the second floor of Ebisu’s LIQUIDROOM. The show is an expanded version of work he exhibited from October 24 to November 2 of this year at Nakaochiai Gallery.
Noguchi won both the Ataka and Ikuo Hirayama Prizes while still an architecture student at the Tokyo University of the Arts (Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku), and after graduating he continued to explore many styles of artistic expression. He produced his ‘Small Impact’ exhibition at the Nakaochiai Gallery, transformed a fishing boat in Tokyo Bay into a traditional Japanese tea house (chashitsu) and worked on many other projects fusing interior design and visual art.
Noguchi has also been active in a truly diverse range of fields, having done a four year stint at Jun Aoki & Associates architectural practice, and being involved in hospital and residential art projects. With the menagerie of animal sculptures in his current exhibition—— including an enormous giraffe and cat —Noguchi manages to convert the gallery space into a veritable zoo.
Noguchi expressed the concept behind his current show:
I don’t want to be tied down.
I don’t want to stay in one place.
I don’t want to confine myself.
I want to search for wonders rather than be told the answer.
I want to think of new amusements rather than win games.
I don’t want to study or work, if it’s possible.
But if I don’t, I’ll be told off.
I seek a magic spell that will release me from obligations
If I keep going and going forward,
there’s sure to be something waiting for me.
Noguchi talked with Time Out Tokyo about his show and approach to his works.
TOT：Can you tell us how the idea for this work came to you?
KN: I wanted to fuse the organic lines of animals and plants with geometry, and when I kept on thinking and thinking about it I had a dream about animals being simplified and becoming geometric. If I’m not really thinking of anything I don’t have dreams like that, but I was constantly thinking about it and somehow it appeared in my dreams.
TOT：You’ve talked about an “angular fantasy world,” but what is an angular fantasy world?
KN: Fantasy is an illusory, floating, blurred state which fades and disappears without becoming reality, and I think that it’s only when you can see it clearly that it becomes something which is actualized. I think if you follow a strong outline, it will take you to the future.
TOT： Which animal was the most difficult to make?
KN: The shark. All of the animals were made after drawing up plans and making a model, but the shark’s design took the longest time. Also in this exhibit I made the crab #1 as an additional animal, but because I didn’t like it I remodeled it as the reindeer.
TOT： What materials are your animals made from?
KN: The material is cardboard. I chose it based on a worldview that when fantasy is viewed from a distance it looks beautiful and impressive, but as you get closer it looks surprisingly cheap and is only a collection of easily broken elements.
TOT： You work in Tokyo, but where do you feel most at home? Where do you often go for fun?
KN: The places where I feel most at home are rikyu (detached palaces). Places like Shiba Rikyu and Hama Rikyu. When I go there my spirit feels enriched. Nishi-Shinjuku in the middle of the night— when no one is around, and huge buildings, streets and street lights seem to spread out all around —has a mysterious feel to it, and occasionally I go and take photographs there.
TOT： What would you like to challenge yourself with next?
KN: I’m not sure when, but I’d like to make something with people as a theme. With people there is a strong, palpable sense of existence. It’s clear with just one look at them. Any other elements just play supporting roles and I think it’s difficult to successfully have them coexist. I’d like to try and express a relationship where the relative power between humans and those other elements are shared one to one.
Kazumasa Noguchi ‘So Close, Yet Not So Far Tour’
Location: Time Out Café & Diner
Date: until Sun Dec 27
Translated by Virginia Okno