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Biography

田中信行 Nobuyuki
Tanaka
Nobuyuki
Tanaka

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Nobuyuki
Tanaka
Profile
  • 1959 Born in Tokyo
  • 1983 B.F.A., Tokyo National University of the Arts
  • 1985 M.F.A., Tokyo National University of the Arts
  • 2003 Received Takashimaya Art Award, Takashimaya Culture Foundation
  • 2012 Received the 18th MOA Mokichi Okada Prize craft arts section award
  • Currently lives and works in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • 01 Exhibitions More
  • 02 Awards More
  • 03 Public Collections More

About
the Artist
About
the Artist

Lacquer is a virtually transparent material used to coat infinite layers upon layers upon bare surfaces, thereby imbuing these surfaces with a nearly eternal, even indestructible quality. It is this organically enigmatic beauty of lacquer, its virtual exteriors revealing hidden interiors, that fascinate the sculptor Nobuyuki Tanaka (b. 1959 –), widely considered to be the leading lacquer artist of his generation, and it is Tanaka who has vibrantly pushed the boundaries of what contemporary lacquer can represent: a persuasive means of Eastern expression within contemporary sculpture that is, simultaneously, a direct challenge to the hegemony of the Western narrative within modern and contemporary art.
Collected by major institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum in NYC and influential contemporary art museums such as the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Tanaka’s radiant sculptures in lacquer are towering odes to space itself, challenging the viewer to almost question whether his or her reflection appearing on the surfaces of his works are in fact manifestations of other realms and dimensions unknown. His genius lies in his ability to manipulate the unique qualities of lacquer to create a symbiotic interconnectivity between facades and their interiors, using the raw beauty of his material to create sculptures that are not only elegantly crafted and beautiful, but at the same time, represent a new way of perceiving ancient materials and techniques in the 21st century.