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PEOPLEText: Kyoko Tachibana

There is also an installation piece at the exhibition, “The Cinema In Miyanomori” as it were instead of “The Cinema In The Little Forest”, and in there shows a film starring Yanobe’s father and his puppet Torayan telling stories with a comical dialogue, and singing joyful but a little sad Szta dziweczka (a famous polish folk song) in polish with moving images of mushroom clouds of the atomic bombs in the background.

Kenji Yanobe

Yanobe used to work on large-scale machine sculpture works that the audience could actually ride on or put them on to play around. However, his experience in Chernobyl, the situations that were happening then inside and outside Japan, the birth of his child and other things made him shift his focus from the theme of “survival” to “revival”. In recent years, he actively holds workshops with children, which is a result of that shift made in the topic from just surviving to “recovering” and”reviving”where he takes a positive direction towards the future.

Kenji Yanobe
© Kenji Yanobe

The story of Kenji Yanobe with the Osaka Expo ’70 is well-known, but his connection with Hokkaido was also at the Osaka Expo. Yanobe has once come to Hokkaido to look for “the man of the eye ball”, who climbed on the Tower of the Sun with”red army” written on his helmet. The Tower of the Sun, which still exists, was built with a vision that the door of the tower was a way out towards the future, but the door is now sealed with concrete. “I’ve always thought that this ‘man of the eye ball’ was the only person, who actually succeeded in getting out of this world towards the future through the door. Then I had this urge to go to Asahikawa to meet this man.” The miracle comes real, Yanobe eventually managed to meet this man. Thus, for him, this solo exhibition is an extensive journey in Hokkaido as this man appears in the story of the special Hokkaido episode of Torayan Goes To The Town of Snow”.

Kenji Yanobe

His plans in the future include a group exhibition with other Japanese artists in China from the 25th of September 2007. A country, which everyone seems to talk about, from the economic development to the environmental issues, or from the Olympic game to the Expo, it would certainly be interesting to see how Yanobe will develop his works in that surrounding as well as to see what kind of response there will be.

Kenji Yanobe “The adventures of Torayan”
Date: September 7th – October 8th, 2007
Open: 11:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Monday)
Place: Miyanomori Art Museum
Address: 2-1, 2-11 Miyanomori, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Tel: +81 (0)11 612 3562
Planning: Miyanomori Art Museum and Akio Nagasawa Publishing

Text: Kyoko Tachibana
Photos: Kyoko Tachibana
Additional Photos: Courtesy of Miyanomori Art Museum © Kenji Yanobe

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