Tanabe Shouchiku III is the fourth generation of a long line of Japanese bamboo masters arisen in 1890. Born Tanabe Takeo in 1973, he was given the artist name Shouchiku, meaning “little bamboo” in Japanese. He received his mastery from his father, who taught him the traditional art of basket-weaving – a part of Japanese floral art (ikebana) – and he uses a wide-mesh weaving technique, a traditional family process. Also trained at the Osaka Craft High School and the Tokyo University of Arts, he creates in his own style useful objects or pure forms, occasionally with other artists, including the lacquer artist Sasai Fumie.
Tanabe Shouchiku III, who innovates while remaining entirely true to a quest that has become a family saying – “In taking up new challenges you create tradition”–, also gives his art a very special monumental dimension. He has shown in many galleries and institutions and his work is present in several museum collections in Japan as well as in Europe and America. This is his first exhibition in a museum in France.
In 2017 Tanabe Shouchika III will take the name Chikuunsai IV or “bamboo cloud” the Fourth.
This fourth vegetal sculpture created by Tanabe Shouchiku III, this installation is made out of 8000 calibrated bamboo stems. A good luck symbol like the pine and the plum, bamboo epitomises Japanese aesthetics. It grows straight and tall and its leaves produce in the wind a natural and soothing sound. The artist uses exclusively stems of Tiger bamboo (torachiku) or black bamboo, that he constantly reutilises. These bamboos grow in only one place in Japan, where the soil gives them this singular mottling. These strips of torachiku thus speak of rootedness in a place but also of the infinite potentiality of their travels in time and space.
A truly spatial sculpture creation, the installation evokes organic forms. It highlights five important Japanese elements: earth (chi), water (sui), fire (ka), wind (fû), void (kokû). It is from this last element that the artist draws his inspiration. His philosophy of the void fits perfectly in the chosen space of the Rotunda, that the artist calls the “museum dome”, located over the historic library and largely open onto the sky of Paris.
The exhibition is produced with the contribution of the Mingei Japanese Arts Gallery