Atsuo Okamoto is a distinguished Japanese sculptor who has exhibited widely in many of Japan’s best-known public and private galleries as well as internationally. Much of his work has embraced traditional Japanese methods of stone carving including wari modoshi which resonates with contemporary approaches to sculpture in different parts of the world. Wari modoshi, translated as ‘splitting and returning’, describes the technique of splitting blocks into manageable portions, then meticulously fusing them together into sculpture. Okamoto’s sculptures not only celebrate the values and sensibilities of the stone carver but also transcend the conventions of sculpture in stone to engage with issues of contemporary life and the making of art.
Forest is Okamoto’s first London exhibition and follows his residency at The Sidney Nolan Trust in 2009 and his exhibition at the Corn Exchange Gallery, Edinburgh in 2010. In his talk, Okamoto discussed this collaborative exhibition project and introduced his work for one of London’s most prestigious public spaces, The Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, adjacent to Tate Britain, which is curated by the University of the Arts London.
Forest is supported by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. The exhibition can be viewed from 28 March to 8 May, 2011.
About the contributors
Atsuo Okamoto was born in Hiroshima in 1951, and graduated from Tama Art University with an MA in Sculpture in 1977. He has exhibited extensively over the last thirty years both domestically and internationally, in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Yokohama, Seoul, Amsterdam, Helsingborg, Torino, Edinburgh and Minnesota. He attracted high acclaim for his work Turtle Project, in which fragments of stone were entrusted to selected people for five years before reassembly, realising Okamoto’s vision of stone absorbing its surrounding environment. He exhibited Faraway Mountain at Corn Exchange Gallery and Gayfield Square Gardens in Edinburgh in 2010. Okamoto currently lives in Tokyo and teaches at Joshibi University of Art and Design.
Professor Chris Wainwright
Professor Chris Wainwright (Chair) is an artist, curator and the Head of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of the University of the Arts London. He is also President of The European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), an organisation representing over 350 European Higher Arts Institutions. He is currently a member of The Tate Britain Council and a board member of Cape Farewell, an artist-run organisation that promotes a cultural response to climate change. He is currently co-curating a major international exhibition UNFOLD for Cape Farewell by artists who have been involved with expeditions to the High Arctic and South America. Chris Wainwright’s work is represented in many major collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Arts Council of England; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; the Polaroid Corporation, Boston, USA, and Unilever, London.