Japanese artist Takahiro Iwasaki takes you on a journey you don’t quite expect. He talks of how as a student, he could never afford art materials and how he found an alternative — everything else. From materials as diverse as a toothbrush and a shopping bag to his own hair, Iwasaki used everything he could, to create art. “My falling hair made me realise my mortality. I wanted to showcase the fragility and the transience of things. I can do that by using materials that are extrememly fragile,” he says.
In his first exhibition in India, called ‘Trans x form’, Iwasaki has collaborated with painter Manisha Parekh, after he met her in an art exchange programme in Japan. His work Out of Disorder (Mt Hakkouda) has various patterns of the Japanese traditional dress, a kimono, and a mountain with four colourful seasons, which is also made out of a kimono. “A kimono seems very similar to the Indian sari to me. I imagine that our cultures, including textile techniques might have travelled from India (sari) to Japan (kimono) through the Silk Route. That was the thought behind depicting the precipitous Himalayan mountains on a silk textile sari which I bought at a market in Old Delhi in this work,” he says. Armed only with superglue and a vivid imagination, Iwasaki’s work draws inspiration from traditional Japanese gardens, yet has a universal appeal.
Parekh’s Japanese connection shows up in The Shadow Garden. In this installation, Parekh shows the lifecycle of a Japanese butterbur, a plant she had seen during her residency in Aomori, in northern Japan. Another work, Nesting is a unit of 50 drawings which Parekh drew during the design of her new studio. It is not only minimal and semiotical but also organic abstract work drawn using gold gouache and sumi (Chinese ink).
The exhibition ‘Trans x from’ is on till April 30 at the Japan Foundation, 5A Ring Road, Lajpat Nagar. Contact: 26442967