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Environmental Art Series – Takashi Kuribayashi

Environmental Art Series – Takashi Kuribayashi

Takashi Kuribayashi aims to make the unseen visible in his thought-provoking artworks which have been exhibited all around the globe; from his Japanese birth town of Nagasaki, Tokyo and China, to Italy, France and the UK (Chelsea College of Art and Design).

This ecologically-minded artist explores borders and boundaries: both the perceived and the physical, the clear and the blurred, the time-dependent and the timeless. Perhaps the most poignant example is his exploration of human civilisation and the natural world – a recurring theme throughout his eclectic portfolio.

For his ‘Trees’ installation at Singapore Art Museum, back in 2015, a tree that had been cut down in the name of redevelopment was reconfigured in a collection of small glass boxes, creating a new kind of tree made up of boxed but living, breathing ecosystems. A slick representation of nature reconstructed in an artificial urban environment; exemplary of his work using natural materials that “keeps changing, and growing; defying common wisdom”.

A keen diver and marine enthusiast, the artist also explores life below the surface and uses water as another forever-changing medium. Water Wall, showcased at the Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto in Japan, is utterly mesmerising.

Other creations that stand out include Kuribayashi’s “connection between the sea and the sky” (‘Entrances’, 2018, Palais de Tokyo, Paris) and his world map made of water plants (‘Island’, 2014 Thailand).

“The sea in opposition to the land, the land in opposition to the sky, inside and outside, reality and unreality, nature and non-nature ,etc. We human beings live in a position that straddles such dual worlds,” says Takashi.

Currently, on Ibuki Island – a place where for centuries local expectant mothers are said to have retreated before and after birth, and the birthplace of the artists’ own mother – Kuribayashi’s ‘Tree of Ibuki’ is being showcased as part of the Setouchi Art Triennale. As each new human is born they cross another kind of border, and inherit three billion years of life, the artist explains.

Using Japanese cypress wood and mirrors, this sculpture was created to project “memory of life as a light glowing like a kaleidoscope”.

Pictured: Tree of Ibuki, by Takashi Kuribayashi, Setouchi Art Triennale

Kuribayashi has a solo exhibition on the horizon, planned for 21 November 2020 at Nizayama Forest Art Museum in Toyama, Japan. Find out more here:

Pictured: Takashi Kuribayashi