NANZUKA is pleased to present SYNDROME, a solo exhibition of new works by Ryuichi Ohira at NANZUKA UNDERGROUD (1F). Ryuichi Ohira was born in 1982 in Tokyo, and grew up in Chiba Prefecture. He received a BFA in Sculpture from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2011. Ohira has showcased his work in a variety of forms in numerous exhibitions and projects. Major presentations include his solo exhibition “Boken Yaro” at the Tsuruoka Art Forum in Yamagata Prefecture (2012), the exhibition and dedication of his large-scale sculptural piece TONGARIMARU at “Yorishiro Project” held at the World Heritage Site Kamigamo Shrine, the solo exhibitions “Magnificent View” (NANZUKA, 2014) and “RYUICHI OHIRA” (GALERIE VERA MUNRO, Hamburg, 2015), and the group exhibition “JP POP UNDERGROUND” (Shinsaibashi PARCO Event Hall, Osaka, 2020). 

Ohira is a sculptor that produces works using wood. Wood has a high level of plasticity likewise to clay that was also one of the first materials to have been used by mankind. Not limited to works of art, it continues to be a material that is indispensable to our cultural activities, serving as a fundamental element of all living tools as well as our places of dwelling. In recent years, Ohira has returned his attention to the original characteristics of this material, producing sculptures that “remain undefined in meaning” motivated by his mindless absorption and unreasonable impulse –both of which can be regarded as primal instincts of human creativity. Among the various subjects he has engaged with in his works, Pineapples are something that continues to fascinate and arouse his enthusiasm.

“Since when did I start thinking about pineapples so much?," Ryuichi Ohira says. "When I’m dining with my family and children. When I’m thinking about cars that I love. When I’m reading news articles on the internet. When I’m watching movies. In all these instances, pineapples are always present somewhere in the corner of my mind. Why must I feel the urge to make pineapples now? Why are they upside down, and why must they be blue? A pineapple with a goat. A pineapple with a telephone. A pineapple with cars. A pineapple with something else. Something and something. Everyday I find myself trying to engage with pineapples in many ways. For some reason or another, I feel like it is my mission to create blue, upside-down pineapples in this very day and age. I am still unable to find the words to describe the reason for this. Until I work out why –well, in fact, I guess I’m not necessarily trying to find a right answer. I am simply overcome by joy in my on-going pursuit of the impossible act of creating pineapples.”

Ohira’s almost self-deprecating statement can be regarded as a suave resistance to art’s destiny –that it must be the “creation of meaning." However, it is to be distinguished from the “intentionally” advocated resistance to the authority of art that has been observed many times in the history of Japanese art and culture of the past, such as the logical composition of Takashi Murakami’s renowned dissertation “The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning,” Fujio Akatsuka’s manga series Tensai Bakabon, and Teruhiko Yumura’s ‘heta-uma’ (bad but good) artwork, characterized by crudely done drawings made in a conscious, deliberate, manner. What lies in the backdrop of Ohira’s statement is his consistent artistic attitude of thoroughly yet subconsciously creating what he likes, albeit in a self-generative and professional manner. Pineapples, custom cars, gold chains, vases, cherries, dial phones, and other things that are neither related nor meaningful to one another, are made into works with Ohira's unreasonable attachment to them being the only common denominator. 

The main feature of the exhibition is a large wooden sculpture that could be described as pineapple avatar that appears to have been anthropomorphized like a combining robot of sorts. This work, which Ohira refers to as “Rhizome,” consists of various elements such as a 6-fingered hand, a long-nosed goblin, a vase, a bird based on an image drawn by his child, an elephant, an arrow reminiscent of male genitalia, and custom cars –all of which are stacked upon one another in a hierarchical fashion. Also presented on this occasion, is a huge camphor log speaker in which a devilishly beautiful human face has been carved, cabinet-style works that miscellaneously bring together Ohira's self-generated creations, as well as pineapples of various shapes and forms. An opening reception with the artist will be held on July 23 (Sat.) from 16:00 to 19:00. We look forward to welcoming you to the exhibitions.