LOOCK: Wohnmaschine Archive

Yoshihiro Suda

Yoshihiro Suda, Ausstellungsansicht Wohnmaschine, 2003

18. September - 25. Oktober 2003


“Yoshihiro Suda, a young artist living and working in Japan, carves delicate, actual-size wood sculptures of plant forms, most notably common weeds and flowers such as camellias, magnolias, and roses, some of which have long held symbolic significance in Japan. …”


For this presentation at Wohnmaschine Suda has installed two new works: a broken twig with some scattered leaves in the first exhibition room and a rose in the corridor.


“Suda´s true idiom is spatial as well as sculptural. Early in his career , he began displaying his work within provisional, sometimes portable environments of his own construction – such as a movable trailer with gold-leaf interior parked in a metered space (Ginza Weed Theory, 1993). Later, when showing his objects in more traditional gallery settings, he occupied these spaces by adding temporary corridors, low doors, or false walls to contain and frame his work. Recently the artist has imbraced the contingencies of existing exhibition venues without making structural alterations. He continues, however, to find unconventional approaches toward shaping and exploring the relationship between the art objects he makes and the particular spaces in which they are displayed. Most often, Suda either places his small sculptures within relatively large, otherwise empty spaces, or positions them at liminal, peripheral points in a room. …

For Suda, meaning is not conveyed by the objects per se; his work is truly activated only in relationship to its surroundings. As such there is a temporal, even performative, aspect to his artistic practice. Ultimately Suda locates significance in the moments of encounter between environment, sculpted form, and viewer. …


Yoshihiro Suda belongs equally to the past and present. He lives in Tokyo in a small, simple house built over seventy years ago – old in the context of the ultramodern Japanese capital. Uncomfortable with most forms of technology, he works alone at a low table in a tiny studio – measuring approximately 5 x 6 feet – for up to ten hours each day.

In a practical sense, the small scale of his work is determined by the size constraints of his working environment. He has, to be sure, developed an adaptive skill. Working exclusively with magnolia wood and traditional Japanese pigments over the last ten years, Suda has aquired his expertise through trial and error. While entirely self-taught, the artist is now truly a master craftsman. “There is no end to technique. When I look at weeds I carved previously they seem badly carved…the one I carve last is always better than the first.” …


In the context of recent Japanese art, Suda´s highly skilled handwork – as well as his studied involvement with seemingly traditional materials, methods, and subject matter – stand in sharp contrast to prevailing investigations of youth-oriented popular culture. At home in Japan, and even more so abroad, he is often mistakenly regarded as an older artist, or seen nostalgically, as someone reviving a traditional Japanese craft technique. “I think it is a bit strange,” remarks Suda, “when people point to a relationship between Japanese tradition and my work. Tradition is something that is passed on. I do not have a teacher and I have not restored aanything from the past. This is where my work differs from tradition.””



Text (Auszug): James Rondeau: Yoshihiro Suda. 2003. Anlaesslich der focus-Ausstellung am Art Institute of Chicago, 2003.