It has been over a decade since I started working at the part of stone factory in Sekigahara as a studio. In these few years I spend most of the time at this studio while I’m in Japan. On the way to the studio by motorbike, I often notice a stone lantern standing by the roadside. My growing up in Tokyo, it is a bit uncommon and a strange sight. Is it related to the numbers of stone factories in this area, I wonder!?
At some point in these days, I began to care about one lantern when travelling to a neighboring town. In a word, that lantern looks like a human. When that lantern happens to be at the corner of my sight, I turn around under the illusion that I come across someone. That is like human standing by the size and proportion, and I even feel a sense of its gaze through the lantern. That lantern doesn’t look so old, and I don’t want to say, “the soul dwells in the stone” or such a ghost story. It just happens to me.
The main new work in this exhibition is based from such a daily frame. Looking at the lantern like a human being, I wanted to make a sculpture combined a human and a lantern. And as I work on it, I gradually think it becomes an important meaningful motif to me. The function of “Tōrō(Japanese stone-lantern)” which leads the soul of the dead returning home by its light also seems to illuminates my road of “sculpture” I walk. Art and creation might be connected to a place, the next world. “Tōrō” doesn't mean that it is a leading role, so to speak, but only a supporting role. For me, who spent my childhood avoiding “standing out” as much as possible, I feel the same sense of familiarity with the way the “ Tōrō” has. This time I wanted to curve the one which could play a leading role at this exhibition.
With Lantern Man centered in this exhibition, new pieces of sculptures are arranged around like installation. And among its components, numbers of “4” and “13” which are said to be ominous in Japan and Western countries are hidden. And in addition to the Western sculpture techniques I usually incorporate in, there are also parts that I refer to Asian modeling, such as Buddhist art and stone gardens. The combination of these ideas comes from my daily life. At the same time, however, under this corona pandemic Asians and Asian Americans sadly have been thrown to strict dangers in New York City, my other stronghold, all which have effect on process of my sculptures. I have a strong feeling to think over Asian and Western cultures. Now again I reconsider my identity and would like to express my role as an artist.
I’m highly grateful for visitors to the venue even in this severe condition. I hope this exhibition will lighten viewers up for the better, even slightly…
Thanks a lot to All.
Sequoyah Aono is a New York-based sculptor born in 1982 in Naples and raised in Tokyo. He received MFA in sculpture from Tokyo University of the Arts. His work is mainly representational and depicts the human figure in stone and wood. Recent commission include permanent outdoor
sculpture “Dexter Head” at the POLA Museum of Art and “KEN” at the Asago Art Village Museum, both in Japan. He has participated in several international sculpture symposiums in Italy, Turkey, Switzerland and Japan. His work also appeared in the 2013 Florence Biennale. He was awarded third prize at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery for his wood sculpture “Self-Portrait” in 2013-2014.
Yoshiaki lnoue Gallery
Yoshiaki Inoue Gallery was founded in 1989.
We have introduced contemporary artists from various media such as painting, sculpture, photography and video installation.
Director: Yoshiaki Inoue
Shinsaibashi Inoue Bldg.2F 3F, 1-3-10 Shinsaibashi-suji Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0085 JAPAN
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