photo: KIOKU Keizo

Tanking Machine

ArtistYANOBE Kenji
Year1990
Material/ Techniquephysiological salt water, iron, propane gas cylinders, gas mask, gum, etc.
Size/ DurationH212×W227×D248cm
Copyright Notice© YANOBE Kenji
Year of acquisition/ donation2000
DescriptionBorn in Osaka, Japan in 1965. Lives and works there.

An artist who uses steel and various materials to make three-dimensional objects. Yanobe’s art is rooted in his childhood experiences at the Expo ’70 site. The Expo represented the ‘future’ that the heart leapt for, but after the exposition came to an end, the site became ‘ruins’ of the future. This impressed the artist on the disconnect between human ‘dreams’ and ‘reality’. The artist’s work took up the theme of how to survive in the context of this discord. From around 2001, the theme of Yanobe’s work has shifted from ‘survival’ to ‘revival,’ with a new focus on rising up from the ruins.

"Tanking Machine" is a three-dimensional work that viewers can go inside. A spherical tank is filled with saltwater that is kept at the same salinity and temperature as the human body. By floating inside the tank, it is possible to experience a sensation similar to being inside the womb prior to birth. The exterior could be resembled as an exaggerated self-portrait. "Mickey Mask" is a wearable artwork consisting of a gas mask fitted with a pair of opera glasses and two cooking ladles to focus the wearer’s sight and hearing. Putting on the mask enables you to examine things in the distance, but your field of vision becomes very small, so you tend to stumble. "Marking Dog" is a work based on reconnaissance machines used by spies. It is a working machine that can be operated by a viewer. Each of Yanobe’s works combines a futuristic image with low-fi materials and techniques. "VIVA REVIVAL PROJECT: STAND-UP" is a new work on the theme of revival. It is modeled on a child, who stands up after counting 10 radiation exposures. According to Yanobe, this work signifies ‘rebirth after despair.’ This work started from finding a doll in an abandoned kindergarten in Chernobyl, the Soviet city where a nuclear reactor accident occurred in 1986 and the birth of Yanobe’s own first child turned his work to a new direction.

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