Takashi Kuribayashi’s art will throw you off a little. Designed to upset conventional ideas and logic, his works often invoke mystery and surprise. His site-specific installations at Hermès and Tanglin Camp, entitled Hermès Column and Aquarium: I feel like I am in a fishbowl respectively, are no exceptions.
For Hermès Column, Kuribayashi creates a bogus pillar with a secret chamber, weaving a fantasy shopping area for fake seals. “The basic concept is of seals going shopping. I want to create a cheerful ambience. I create a fake pillar, and make a hole in it. The seals will come out from the pillar and come shopping. This is a gallery, but I’ll put Hermès’s products all over to make it like a boutique. In a corner, there will be wetsuits for the seals. The audience will come and discover a kind of connection to a different world,” Kuribayashi quips.
Aquarium: I feel like I am in a fishbowl is no less intriguing. “When you experience this art work, you’ll feel like you’re looking into an aquarium, but at the same time, someone is looking back at you. For example, when you go to the zoo, you think you are looking at animals, but actually the animals are watching human beings. I’m dealing with that kind of changing perceptions and situations here,” he says.
When talking about his influences, Kuribayashi points to his father: “He is a photographer and specifically captures images of insects. He was one of the most famous photographers in that area, and is very dedicated and committed to his work. I really respect that kind of attitude.”
Do check out the riveting shows Kuribayashi has put up for the Singapore Biennale 2006. Quirky and uncanny, they provoke you to put aside your common sense (for a while) and indulge in a fantasy world he has created.