Bordeaux, 9 April 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA).
CAPC – the museum of contemporary art in Bordeaux – is presenting an exhibition of work by Japanese artist Tomoaki Suzuki until 1 June.
The museum, a former colonial spices warehouse, has opened up its nave to the young artist, assembling a selection of Suzuki’s figurative sculptures under the vaulted ceiling. Standing no higher than 60cm, each wooden figure is an intricate representation of London fashion – with the artist finding people to pose for him in the streets around where he lives. In a meticulous blending of contemporary style with traditional Japanese woodcarving techniques, it takes Suzuki four months to complete a single sculpture.
Curator Alexis Vaillant has created a very unconventional exhibition – which, with 20 sculptures, is a semi-retrospective – with no separation between the visitor and the work. Without display cabinets, or even a base to the sculptures, the two share the same floor and occupy the same space. While small in stature, the rich, painstaking detail of the pieces forces the visitor to crouch down and place themselves on the same level. Dimensions are fleetingly created and broken within the space, which Suzuki uses to convey the impossibility of a notion of “community” in the age of social media.
Speaking to Art Media Agency, Suzuki spoke of creating a “confrontation” between the sculptures and the museum’s unique architecture – albeit a positive one. Describing his work as “photography through sculpture”, the amount of time he dedicates to one piece allows him to translate each individual personality through small details in their clothing or gestures. On the eve of the show’s opening, the highlight for him was seeing fifteen years’ worth of work in one place, allowing him to revisit characters and friends that have marked his career so far.
Born in 1972 in Mito, Japan, Tomoaki Suzuki moved to London in 1998 to study at Goldsmiths College. His work has been exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, Michael Janssen Gallery in Köln, and Marc Jancou Contemporary in New York.