Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

July 26, 2019–August 24, 2019

Artist Reception
Friday, July 26 | 5-7pm

Artist Presentation
Saturday, July 27 | 3-4pm

In the world of Japanese art, it’s hard to miss Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. From his colossal installations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museé Guimet to recent solo exhibitions in Paris and Belgium, Tanabe has emerged as a leader and representative for a younger generation of bamboo artists.

TAI Modern is pleased to present its upcoming exhibition Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, in which the artist will create a site-specific installation within the gallery’s walls. Tanabe’s enormous, sinuous structures woven on-site from tiger bamboo seem to emerge from and meld into floors, ceilings, and walls; while the organic forms of his free-standing sculptures, made from tiger bamboo and incorporating bamboo roots, share a fluidity and living energy.

As Roberta Smith stated, “Open-weave, light-colored tiger bamboo is semitransparent and sort of weightless. These forms have an animated-cartoon energy and snap; they cavort almost wickedly.”

Tanabe was born to one of Japan’s most prestigious bamboo pedigrees and is the fourth generation to take the artist name Chikuunsai, meaning “master of the bamboo clouds.” Tanabe continues to keep his family’s heritage alive by mastering styles and techniques that the Tanabe family is known for, while also establishing his own.

Says Shinya Maezaki, “His artistic particularity lies in the diversity of his activities. He creates tools, the making of which is a secret passed down from father to son… His field of creativity is so wide that it is difficult to believe that it is all the work of the same artist.”

Tanabe is also an avid collaborator and an embracer of technology – pieces in his Disappear series were conceptualized with the assistance of Kaijima Sawako, a professor at Harvard University, whose software and 3D-printed molds aided the design of mathematically complex structures which Tanabe then masterfully translated into the medium of bamboo.

The artist has received many accolades. His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Musee du Quai Branley-Jacques Chirac, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Museé Guimet, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, among others.

The opening is Friday, July 26 from 5-7pm. As bamboo art is truly a family affair for Tanabe, the artist and his children will be giving a demonstration for the public on Saturday, July 27 from 3-4pm. TAI Modern is open Monday through Saturday from 10am-5pm.

Photos by Tadayuki Minamoto