Contemporary artist Teppei Kaneuji's playful yet ominous sculptures consist of found objects and images that negotiate the complexities of everyday life. Through these assemblages of commonplace items, overlooked and mundane objects are transformed into artworks that transcend their associated contexts and associations.Read More
Born in Kyoto where he is now based, Kaneuji grew up with an interest in collecting objects such as toys and stickers. He studied sculpture at Kyoto City University of Arts where he received his BFA and MFA in 2001 and 2003 respectively. There, he learned traditional techniques such as modelling, stone and wood carving, and how to use resin. During the final year of his BFA, Kaneuji took part in an exchange programme, studying abroad at the Royal College of Art in London.
Throughout his career, Kaneuji's practice has consistently made use of contrasting found materials, often to comment on mass consumption in Japan. In his series 'White Discharge' (2002–ongoing), Kaneuji meshes together mismatched objects such as plastic buckets, rolls of tape, toy figurines and traffic cones, and covers them with dripping white resin to create fantastical landscapes. The colour of the resin is no accident; in the context of Japanese culture, the word 'white' suggests both existence and non-existence.
By contrast, the sculptural series 'Teenage Fan Club' (2007–ongoing) sees the artist creating a singular rule for himself: to use only hair pieces from action figures, superheroes, plastic anime dolls and other toy figurines. Inspired by watching people's heads sway together in the crowd at a concert, for this series Kaneuji removes the hair from the original body of the figurine to create new bipedal monsters.
Alongside his sculptural artworks, Kaneuji also experiments with two-dimensional images and printmaking. Much like the rest of his layered practice, his collages combine various textures, bringing together photos, magazine clippings, drawings and printed material. In his series 'Games, Dance and the Constructions' (2011–ongoing), Kaneuji assembles cut-outs from Japanese manga books and prints the illustrations onto plastic, mirror, plywood panels or soft plush sculptures, or merges them with photographs of real-life situations and locations, sometimes packing the contents into transparent frames. The series comments on the nature of two-dimensional objects and the relationship between image and object; as he explores different dimensions and contexts with ready-made materials, he changes how mundane objects are seen and interacted with.
Kaneuji had his first solo show at Kodama Gallery, Osaka, in 2002, and since then has exhibited extensively across Japan and internationally, including Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin (2006); Long March Space in Beijing (2007); Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (2009) and Gwangju Museum of Art (2010). Kaneuji's work has been collected by several public institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Yokohama Museum of Art and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.
Katherine Volk | Ocula | 2018