New Atrium Art: BIG CAT BANG: From Friday, April 5, 2024

GINZA SIX中央に位置する吹き抜け空間に、日本を代表する現代美術作家・ヤノベケンジによる旅をしながら福を運ぶ猫「SHIP’S CAT」のシリーズともなる新作アート「BIG CAT BANG」が登場します。

― Installation Overview ―

Kenji Yanobe is known for his large mechanical sculptures that juxtapose humor with social commentary.
This work reimagines the large atrium in the middle of GINZA SIX as a galaxy that includes Earth, in which innumerable space cats voyage through space. The large floating ship is an homage to the Tower of the Sun, a tower created by Japanese artist Taro Okamoto for Expo 70. Kenji Yanobe, an heir in the spiritual line of Taro Okamoto, presents a new and whimsical version of the story of our dynamic universe since the Big Bang.

A SHIP’S CAT rides on the back of the spacecraft LUCA, which is modeled on the Tower of the Sun. From this ship issue hundreds of space cats constituted of balloons.
*The photos are for illustrative purposes only.

【Artist】 Kenji Yanobe
【Location】 Central atrium, second floor, GINZA SIX
【Exhibition dates】 April 5, 2024 (Friday) to summer 2025 (planned)
【Dimensions】 Depth 86 x width 63 x height 66 meters
Courtesy of Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum

― Exhibition of works around the central atrium ―

The sculptures in the SHIP’S CAT series are displayed on the fourth floor.
The SHIP’S CAT series, which began in 2017, has travelled near and far in Japan and abroad, from Fukuoka initially to the Louvre Museum’s Carrousel du Louvre exhibition in 2018. They include permanent installations in Shanghai, China and exhibitions in Setouchi, Osaka, Kyoto, Taiwan, and Pingtung.
SHIP’S CATs are sailor cats who set forth on their long voyage during the Age of Exploration. Traveling through space, enshrined deities possibly entrusted with human guardianship and positive encounters, they signal hope for the future. Even in this troubled era, the cats and the work suggest, people—especially young people—would do well to make the commitment to venture the world.

SHIP’S CAT (Flying)
d 130 x w 47 x h 90 cm
(including pedestal)

SHIP’S CAT (Crew/Black)
d 80 x w 40 x h 105 cm

d 120 x w 40 x h 105 cm
(including pedestal)

― Message from the Artist (Thoughts on His Works) ―

Some 3.5 billion years ago, life emerged on this planet. Five mass extinctions later, we find ourselves alive here today. What did life come from? Where is it going?
Art is an explosion, declared Taro Okamoto. Based on this idea, I imagined a giant explosion of cats. I want to deliver to you this bursting forth of a vision within the context of our thoughts on the mysteries of life and space.
It is precisely now, with the world in turbulent crisis, that we must explode our creativity and imagination, taking a broader bird’s-eye view of the universe.

Kenji Yanobe
Contemporary Artist, Professor, Kyoto University of the Arts
Born in Osaka in 1965, Kenji Yanobe began making large mechanical sculptures with functionality at the start of the 1990s on the theme of survival in contemporary society. His works, which convey social commentary in whimsical presentations, have won high praise both in Japan and abroad. In 2017, taking sailor cats as a motif, he began a SHIP’S CAT series depicting guardian deities for travelers. SHIP’S CAT (Muse) 2021 is permanently installed as a symbol of the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka, which opened in 2022.

― Major Works ―

SHIP‘S CAT (Muse)(2021)Sculpture in the SHIP’S CAT series made for the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka, which opened in 2022

Sun Child
Depicting a figure holding in its right hand the sun, a clear heir of the spirt and design of Taro Okamoto’s series of works.

Giant Torayan(2005)This Giant Torayan figure obeys solely the commands of children, singing and dancing and blowing flames; the ultimate weapon in the dreams of a child.
©️Photo by Seiji Toyonaga

― Also on display is a 1/50-scale replica of the Tower of the Sun by Taro Okamoto. ―

Tower of the Sun (1/50th scale)
d 50 x w 120 x h 145 cm
©Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum
Displayed here (courtesy of the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum ) is a 1/50th-scale replica of the Tower of the Sun. The original tower was created as a theme pavilion for the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair.

Taro Okamoto
Taro Okamoto moved to France in 1929 and participated in the Abstraction-Création association of artists and other avant-garde art movements in Paris in the 1930s. At the University of Paris, he studied ethnology under Marcel Mauss and associated with Georges Bataille and others. He returned to Japan in 1940. In post-war Japan, he developed an avant-garde arts movement and delivered a succession of controversial works. Encountering Jomon earthenware in 1951, he announced his Theory of Jomon Earthenware the following year. In the latter part of the 1950s, he undertook research across Japan, taking innumerable photographs and writing numerous research articles. In 1970, he was hired as the theme producer for the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair. His The Tower of the Sun won him fame throughout Japan. Even after his death in 1996, he continues to exert a major influence on the younger generation.

― Related Information ―

Book on the making of BIG CAT BANG on saleFeatures a dialogue between Kenji Yanobe and Akiomi Hirano, director of the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, and an interview with Kenji Yanobe by Shigeo Goto. The text is in both Japanese and English.
Planned and edited: Shigeo Goto
Published by: G/P+abp
Price: 3,850 yen (tax included)
*Advance sales at the BIG CAT BANG LIMITED SHOP (2nd floor, Mihara Terrace) from April 5 (Friday) to April 14, 2024 (Sunday); sold elsewhere, including Ginza Tsutaya Books (6th floor, GINZA SIX), from April 15, 2024 (Monday)


At the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum
Kenji Yanobe Special Exhibition starting in July
The Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum in Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo was the residence of Taro Okamoto for 42 years and the home of his atelier, where he worked prolifically. This will be Kenji Yanobe’s second special exhibition at the museum. Provisional title: Kenji Yanobe: Taro, Cats, and the Sun. The first in 2011 was titled Child of the Sun, Child of Taro.
Exhibition dates: July 12 (Friday) to November 10 (Sunday) 2024
Venue: Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum (Aoyama)
Inquiries: 03-3406-0801 (Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum)


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