Odani Motohiko, born 1972 in Kyoto, is best known for his visions of the future premised on “mutation” and “transformation” of the body in sculpture, film and photography.
Since appearing on the scene as one of a new generation of artists with sculptural roots, Odani Motohiko has continued to create works of monstrous beauty that excite painful sensations in the viewer. This year, a decade after his debut, this artist also renowned for the sheer diversity of his work, which encompasses video and photography as well as three-dimensional forms, will once again begin to channel his energies seriously into sculpture.
“Looking back,” Odani says, “I think that having been churning out sculpture like there was no tomorrow, I eventually found myself in a dilemma over the number of resources I actually had to draw on within myself and the direction my output was taking, and as familiarity began to breed contempt with sculpture, I backed off a little and incorporated various other media. At some level though I’ve always felt a need to return to sculpture, and for the past three years I’ve been sharpening up my act again in readiness, both technically and mentally.” ART iT 17 Fall/Winter 2007
I recently had the pleasure of viewing some of his works in the exhibition Twist and Shout at the BACC in Bangkok. His video Rompers (still from the installation above) was enchanting and I kept coming back for repeated viewings. The childish melody sung by the girl sitting in a tree, looped over and over, and even weeks later it’s exact effect os still with me. Especially when my daughter sings something similar. Like much of his work I have seen, Rompers was approachable, had a sense of fantasy or play, and yet contains bits of disturbing imagery and themes.
In his video Rompers, Odani takes the viewer into an animated world in which all creatures seem to be living together in harmony. A little girl is sitting with childlike innocence on a branch in a tree top, singing happily in the company of the animals of the forest: toads, squirrels, birds, and even worms, bees and other insects. This happy, sweet setting recalls the children’s programme Romper Room, which showed children and puppets displaying good values to its audience through music and songs. However, all that would have been normal in the program is here transformed: the mushrooms grow disproportionately in the grass, the tree has a honeycomb full of orange honey inside it, the toads with their extra-long limbs have ear-shaped wings, and the girl, who has no eyebrows and possesses longer-than-normal fingers, suddenly sticks out a reptile tongue to gobble up an insect. All the living creatures seem to be in the middle of a process of genetic mutation. The girl is even wearing a flowery dress and fruit-decorated hairgrips in her hair – an allusion, perhaps, to man’s attempts to dominate nature. The artist shows his own personal and humorous view of scientific breakthroughs and their effects on the environment: a futuristic vision of a present-day reality. Source.
ERECTRO (clara), 2004
Odani has a BFA in sculpture and MFA from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.
Odani Motohiko work will be on display at the BACC until January 10th but is showing at the following locations as well:
Maison Herme`s 8F Forum
Yonago City Museum of Art, Tottori
The Doors of Perception
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi
Mori Art Museum
Images and some text from Yamamoto Gendai.