Within the vast arena of Japanese sculpture there’s a small niche category known as jizai okimono. The craft involves carving realistic animals whose bodies and limbs are all animated through joints just like the real living thing. Some common subjects are birds, fishes, snakes and insects. It’s a craft that originated in the late-Edo period (late 1700s) when metalsmiths and armor makers, faced with a decline in demand for armor, found themselves with plenty of time on their hands. But ever since it’s modest beginnings, the lobster, with its numerous joints and undulating back, has been considered to be the most difficult and challenging subject.
Ryosuke Ohtake, a young 25-year old sculptor, caused quite a stir recently when he boldly took on the challenge and created an immaculate and animated lobster from wood. What stunned many was that not only was the piece carved from wood (which is considered far more difficult than using copper) but the fact that this was Ohtake’s first official jizai okimono. The lobster was part of a wooden sculpture exhibition at Tokyu Department Store in Tokyo this April. Watch the video to see exactly how realistic this lobster moves. And you can see more of his work over on his Facebook page.
Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira (previously) recently completed work on his largest installation to date titled Transarquitetônica at Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade in São Paulo. As with much of his earlier sculptural and installation work the enormous piece is built from tapumes, a kind of temporary siding made from inexpensive wood that is commonly used to obscure construction sites. Oliveira uses the repurposed wood pieces as a skin nailed to an organic framework that looks intentionally like a large root system. Because the space provided by the museum was so immense, the artist expanded the installation into a fully immersive environment where viewers are welcome to enter the artwork and explore the cavernous interior. Transarquitetônica will be on view through the end of November this year, and you can watch the video above by Crane TV to hear Oliveira discuss its creation.
There are many wooden sushi sets out there for kids but this one, created by Japanese design firm plaplax, takes the cake. Or more appropriately, the fish. It consists of 45 wooden pieces that help teach kids about shari (the bite-sized vinegar rice) and neta (the fish topping). Kids can rearrange the shari and neta to create their own culinary masterpiece. The set was originally created for a kid-friendly exhibition last year, but you can now buy your very own “tsumiki sushi”. They’re going for 7,400 yen a pop and if you order before July 2014 your meal will ship in August. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
The team at Australian firm March Studio (previously) are currently finishing work on this amazing interior staircase for the Japanese-inspired Nishi building in Canberra, Australia. The building is billed as “Australia’s most radically sustainable mixed-use building and apartment complex,” and if this interior treatment is any indication, it seems they might have achieved that goal. The stairwell and ceiling is constructed from thousands of repurposed boards taken from old homes, a basketball court, as well as remnants from the construction site of the Nishi building itself. Although it looks somewhat chaotic, every single board and suspension rod was designed and placed before construction began. You can see much more at the Hotel Hotel Blog. (via Jeroen Apers, Hotel Hotel Blog)
Starting with layers of Finnish birch plywood artist Ron Isaacs builds elaborately designed constructions onto which he paints, in a trompe l’oeil fashion, the delicate details of leaves sprouting from clothing or the textured surface of twigs and bark. Each piece merges three recurring subjects found in most of his works: vintage clothing, plant materials, and found objects. Isaacs shares via his artist statement:
My three primary recurring subjects are vintage clothing (for the way it continues the life of the past into the present, for its rich structures and colors and shapes, and for its anthropomorphic presence as a stand-in for the figure); plant materials in the form of sticks, leaves, and flowers (for too many reasons to list); and found objects. They combine in appropriate or surprising juxtapositions, sometimes purely as a visual “poem” of sorts and (if I’m lucky) sometimes as an image with real psychological resonance. Objects occasionally reappear in other contexts and take on new meanings, like a repertory company of actors playing different roles in different plays.
Isaacs will have several new pieces on view at Snyderman-Works Gallery in Philadelphia starting May 2, 2014. You can also see more of his work over at Tory Folliard Gallery. (via The Jealous Curator)
Created by Amsterdam-based director and animator Andre Maat, this quick animated short titled Woodoo relies on impressive sequences of laser-cut wood to create the illusion of a malliable substance. (via Booooooom)
Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki chisels these life-sized figurative sculptures out of giant pieces of camphor wood, a kind of evergreen. The strange pieces frequently involve two or more characters merged into a single form, which could been interpreted as commentary on mortality, or multiple personalities/perspectives. You can see much more over on Fuma Contemporary, Art Emporer and Elsa Art Gallery. (via Empty Kingdom, Juxtapoz,