Posted:Jul 2, 2007

Toshihiro Yashiro “Kaitenkai Haute Couture”

For his performances, Toshihiro Yashiro spins around in ninja outfits or in bright, comical costumes with head-dresses, aiming to “become the space”.

The Zeit Photo Salon, where he is currently holding a solo show, is displaying photographs and videos of the performances he has done over the past few years.

I was lucky enough to talk to the artist, who is present in the gallery during the exhibition period. He told me about how he initially felt that too many things in life are too complicated, but he eventually realized that he can simplify and understand everything simply by spinning, thus unifying himself with the environment. He still remembers the advice his mother often gave him when he was little: to “look at things from other people’s perspectives”. So, in order to really understand objects or landscapes, he wanted to put himself into their position.

In the photos, Yashiro blends into the space, leaving no evidence of the original outline of his figure. His body transfigures into a circle or a tornado within the space. His pieces raise interesting issues of identity. While he was in Europe for some artist residencies, he felt that people’s sense of self was too strong over there and that it is important for the West to become aware of the Eastern concept of self, the boundaries of which are looser.

For one of his works, he went to a middle school and involved the students in his project. He said the students felt refreshed and stimulated by their participation, because it was a more proactive experience than having to sit and listen to their teachers’ lectures. It is encouraging to hear that schools are starting to invite artists to teach a class; as he puts it, “society is re-discovering the importance of the arts.”

Yashiro’s performances can take him anywhere; he would like to make use of the space at the British Museum, but he is happy to perform and share his thoughts wherever he is invited.

So, why don’t you make your way to the Zeit Photo Salon and talk to him about his performance? Perhaps your visit will make you question the deeper meaning of self.

For more images of the artist’s work, visit his website

Meg Kaizu

Meg Kaizu

Meg studied Art and Arts Management in Eugene Oregon. In addition to Tokyo Art Beat, her articles have appeared in magazines such as Being A Broad, Metropolis, PingMag and Whitehot Magazine. You can contact her at: mkaizu [at] gmail [dot] com