Acclaimed Japanese bamboo ‘master’ artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV created a new site-specific installation for Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM), which opened on September 8, 2019 in Eskişehir, Turkey. The installation measuring 6×8 meters in size was crafted entirely from ‘Tiger Bamboo’ that is unique to one mountain in Kochi, Japan. Tanabe’s creative process mirrors natural cycles of decay and regrowth; once an exhibition is finished, the materials are broken down and repurposed in different forms elsewhere.
The new site-specific commission was installed for the opening of the Odunpazari Modern Museum and it includes recycled bamboos that are over seven years old. The installation was deeply inspired by the town of Odunpazari, the town where the museum is based; by Tanabe’s response to the natural environment and to the respectful attitude of its inhabitants to their cultural history. Since his first visit to Turkey for this project, the artist met and observed many local people as part of the creative process, in order to create an installation that captures a sense of place.
The installation takes the four elements (earth, water, air, fire) and entwines them with the human spirit of Odunpazari, filling the empty space with five interwoven strands that ascend towards the ceiling in a continuous interlocking dialogue. To this extent, Tanabe’s design reflects OMM’s progressive mission to include the citizens of Odunpazari and, more broadly speaking, of Eskişehir, in a global exchange of culture and ideas.
Tanabe said of his installation: “I perceive the location of this installation as an ‘empty space’. We fill the space with the elements and with ourselves, which are in a continual transformation and they travel upward. The fifth element in this case is the people I met in Eskişehir, my interactions with them and theirs with each other. I focused on this theme of interaction and how it spreads through the city. Similarly, once OMM opens, I imagine that the spirit of the museum will spread all over the city.”