NEW YORK, NY.- Jonathan LeVine Gallery
is presenting Bust a Move, a series of new works by Japanese artist Taku Obata in what is his debut solo exhibition in the United States.
Bust a Move features Obatas dynamic wooden sculptures, drawings and lithographs of b-boys, or break-dancers, with a distinctly interpreted fashion style. A b-boy himself, the artist has a precise understanding concerning the forms of the human body and how they move, creating works that are bursting with the kinetic energy found in this urban dance form.
The life-size sculptures in Bust a Move are captured in freeze stances, poses that complete every breakdance battle, and are adorned in brightly-colored jumpsuits with accessories sampled from the old-school b-boy style. Surreally elongated hats, glasses and gloves create the illusion of movement, in contrast with the stagnant demeanor of Obatas subjects. The works have a dominating presence and by portraying modern dance through the ancient technique of Japanese wood-carving, the artist effectively merges popular culture with his cultural roots.
Obata fully immerses viewers in the environment of this subculture through his 3-D works, with the goal of enhancing our awareness and physical senses. In his own words, I am not simply creating a b-boy, but I aim to create an atmosphere, a cool space with a certain strange and interesting tension.
Taku Obata was born in 1980 in Saitama, Japan, where he is currently based. In 1999, he formed the hip-hop dance crew Unityselections and refined his style of breakdancing through live performances. In 2008, Obata received a masters degree in sculpture from the Tokyo University of the Arts. That same year he won the grand prize at the Tokyo Wonder Wall Grand Prix. Since then he has exhibited his works throughout Japan, including a solo show at the Nakamura Keith Haring Museum in 2012.