photo: FUKUNAGA Kazuo

ball rolls beyond, ball rolls ahead

ArtistUSHIJIMA Hitoshi
Material/ Techniquesteel
Size/ Durationφ220cm
Copyright Notice© USHIJIMA Hitoshi
Year of acquisition/ donation2009
DescriptionBorn in Fukuoka, Japan in 1963. Lives and works there.

In the 1980s, Ushijima studied under TANAKA Min’s Maijuku dance company. After touring Europe as a performer, he returned to Japan, and while working for the family business, which manufactured playground equipment, he started producing artwork in the form of playground equipment that he referred to as sculpture. A characteristic of many of his works is that they are realized not simply by being viewed, but when the viewer becomes involved in the works through experiencing them. The works often move or metamorphose in response to this human interaction, their function and meaning changing over time. Ushijima has also proposed and implemented a large number of workshop programs on such topics as building radio stations and bases.

According to a story devised by Ushijima Hitoshi, a ball roughly two meters in diameter rolls somewhere in the city and splits in two precisely at the spot where it comes to a stop. People gather around and after thinking what to do they suddenly decide to make a base for themselves. Here, a base refers to a playing space for a group of children who keep it secret from people outside the group, a temporary space where members of the group make their own rules and do various things to make it a comfortable place in which to hang out. Building a place from scratch with others raises the question of how we ought to live together as well as making us realize that such a place can also alienate the group from outsiders. This work includes a workshop program that applies not only to bases but also to things like radio stations and footbaths, by developing and expanding the ideas of the people involved.