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Studio Visit - Tadahiro Gunji

Studio Visit with Tadahiro Gunji

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Q.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist.

A.

I was born and raised in Japan. I grew up in what we call a middle-class family, but I didn't have any particular art major in my family. But I was familiar with art history books and comic books with deep contents. I heard that I was a boy who drew pictures since I was little and I was happy if I had a pencil and paper. After that, I graduated from the Design Department of the University of the Arts in Japan and joined a major design office in Tokyo, but every day was boring. I work on weekdays, go home late, watch movies and sleep. On weekends, I slept until noon, drank with my friends and talked nonsense, and this was repeated again and again. My life was happy, but I wasn't satisfied somewhere. When I visited New York in 2013, I experienced an installation at a museum called Dia Beacon and I was driven by a mysterious obsession and started making art works of Collectivity series. Two years ago, my family moved to Brooklyn. The reason is to enjoy our lives more. Visual art is my starting point. Not because it's fun, but because it's an impulse. The obsession lets me create. I recently noticed that this is similar to the anger of boredom I felt in those mundane days.

 

Q.

Describe your work in three words.

A.

Miyabi (elegance), Wabi, Hyouge (witticism)

 

Q.

What is your creative process? Walk us through each stage - from coming up with ideas/themes/concepts you want to explore, to translating that into an artistic vision, to creating the physical artworks and installations.

A.

Every one of my works starts with drawing. The combination of simple shapes gives rise to organic lines and shapes created at the boundaries between objects. I will keep searching. Shapes are pictures, various natural objects, or shapes extracted from people. Transfer these shapes to wood and cut them with a jigsaw. It is photographed and digitally colored. I can choose from several different colors. Paint it with acrylic paint and give it a slight gradation with an airbrush. Pour resin over them and harden them several times until they feel surface tension. And then I put them together creates an organic line between glossy surfaces. Because drawing is an action at my core, I continue sketching. It doesn't matter if it's not connected to the work or anything. I think I can touch the reason of shape. I think this is close to the work of Ellsworth Kelly that connects plant sketch to minimal art. In my quest, this sketch line It is interpreted and exists as a groove in the boundary line without being drawn. The work is completed as a poetic installation that changes according to the environment by taking a picture of the space with a glossy relief. These concepts are based on the fact that I am attracted to their spirituality rather than their superficial expression as Japanese. The spirit is that all Japanese art existed in the Azuchi-Momoyama period, and it was characterized by Miyabi (elegance), Wabi (taste for the simple and quiet), and Hyouge (witticism). I think it is the spirit of my work.

Tadahiro Gunji says

“QUOTE HERE”

Q.

What influence does living in Brooklyn have on your work?

A.

Living in Brooklyn is exciting for me because there are many creators. According to one theory, your brain can concentrate on moderate noise rather than silence, that's exactly what makes my brain more focused in Brooklyn.

 

Q.

What draws you to this type of work?

A.

They don't use words, but they are poetic.

  

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

A.

I get inspiration from every environment except myself. Especially natural things, people and movies.

 

Q.

What do you listen to when creating?

A.

I sometimes listen to music when drawing, but I don't listen to it in other processes. It's more relaxing than my favorite song. I draw while listening to the piano by Glenn Gould or, more recently, by Joep Beving. I like black music as well.

 

Q.

What influence does modern culture have on your work?

A.

My job has a lot to do with digital. If I can control the amount of information, It has a great impact. Digital tools, for example, let me reconfirm the beauty of drawing on iPad Pro.

 

Q.

What is your relationship with social media?

A.

SNS is no motivation for me. But now it's a very important tool. As an artist, I feel it is more important to create a strong connection between people through SNS than getting many followers or likes.

 

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

Can I share my reality with my audience? Can I share with others, for example, the poetic beauty of my work that changes with the environment? I always think so, but first I want to face the reality inside me.

 

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A. 

Oribe Furuta, a master of the tea ceremony, was the most influential. I am also influenced by the above-mentioned Ellsworth Kelly, Sadamasa Motonaga of The Gutai group and Osamu Tezuka.

   

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

Nothing in particular for now, but Osamu Tezuka's Buddha, Soseki Natsume, are the Bible of my life.

 

Q.

When do you make your best work?

A.

I feel like I can do a very good job when I can't control the urge to create.

 

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

My kids

 

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

My kids

 

Q.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

The obsession of work

 

About Tadahiro Gunji

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About Tadahiro Gunji

Tadahiro Gunji is an artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark where she co-runs the non-profit workspace KVIT. She attended Strykejernet Art School in Aarhus. Inspired by nature and the subjective filter of memory, her work reflects on human relationships with the natural world.

STATEMENT 

The universe is made up of collectives, and the concept of human beings distinguishes those collectives. The collective changes shape, and can mean many things, based on your perception. For example, cells are within the make up of people, who make up society, who make up countries, that all live on a planet amongst a galaxy that exists in the universe. These boundaries are seamless, and prescribed by people. In other words, human beings are recognized by the act of drawing lines for themselves and others. I think it is a part of human nature. The line I focus on is the idea of the “borderline.” - Tadahiro Gunji

 

EDUCATION 

2002, Tokyo National University of Arts

 

EXHIBITIONS 

2019, “SALAD DAYS” a young space online exhibition

2017, “Collectivity 026–034” hpgrp Gallery NYC

2016, “Collectivity 015–025” hanare NON-GRID Inc.

“Collectivity 000–014” BATSU ART GALLERY

2015 “DIESEL ART GALLERY INSTALLATION”

“Here is Zine Tokyo 10th”

TOKYO CULTUART by BEAMS

2014, “VISIBLE WIND” SHANGHAI ONE GALLERY

2013, COMMON Presents “NEW END MARKET vol.2”

Cool Japan Fund “JAPAN CREATIVE PLATFORM”

2012, The 10th International Poster Triennial in Toyama

REDonePRESS product show “NEW END MARKET”

2010, TABLOID

2009, The 9th International Poster Triennial in Toyama

JAGDA TOKYO EXHIBITION

DAIDO MORIYAMA “RECORD” ON THE ROAD

COLLABORATION WITH EIGHT CREATORS

2008, IID IID GREEN DAY

2007, X展-07GDC “平面设计在中国”国际评审提名展”

2006, The 8th International Poster Triennial in Toyama

mashcomix HOUSE presented by ROCKET

2004, International Triennale of Contemporary Art

2003, onedotzero Extended Play 03

RESFEST RESMIX SHORTS

 

COLLECTIONS 

Rad Hourani Art Foundation

The Museum of Modern Art, Toyama

Italy Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa

 

FILM SCREENINGS

2012, Pictoplasma Berlin

2011, Pictoplasma NYC

2008, Pictoplasma NYC

2007, STASH DVD MAGAZINE

2003, onedotzero

2003, RESFEST