Big, bold and sometimes noisy – Shinro Ohtake at the Parasol Unit

Shinro OhtakeThank goodness for long-run exhibitions! So often I’m racing to get to an exhibition and write about it in time for you to go as well if you feel like it before it closes. No such problem with Shinro Ohtake at the Parasol Unit, which is on for a whole two months. Luxury. Especially as you probably will want to go once I’ve told you about it. 

I’d been planning to go to the exhibition sometime in October, once I’d found out where the Parasol Unit actually was. But then I found out, quite by accident. I’d been to see the Kusama pumpkins at Victoria Miro, and as I left I glanced into the gallery next door – which turned out to be the Parasol Unit. Actually, next door is a bit of a misnomer. The two galleries are entwined together like siamese twins, so while they’re adjacent on the ground floor they’re stacked above each other once you get inside, with a shared (long and daunting) staircase.

Shinro OhtakeLike Victoria Miro, the Parasol Unit is a grand space, perfect for showing large works like Ohtake’s. He’s one of the foremost contemporary Japanese artists, working in a variety of media including drawing, pasted works, painting, sculpture, photography, experimental music and videos. But he’s perhaps best known for his cut and paste works, like his series of more than sixty scrapbooks which he began making in 1977.

Shinro OhtakeIt’s a substantial exhibition, but the works that appealed to me most were the big sculptural ones, like this reclaimed boat hull:

Shinro OhtakeOr this giant wardrobe ( well, that’s what it looked like to me), full of fascinating detail when you got up close.

Shinro OhtakeShinro OhtakeI wish I could share with you the scratchy radio soundtrack that accompanied this work, titled Radio Head Surfer.

Shinro OhtakeShinro Ohtake

I love the texture of this piece.

Shinro Ohtake

And the sheer presence of his work, combined with the fascinating detail when you get close up.

Shinro OhtakeThe exhibition continues until 12th December and the Parasol Unit is open Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday 12 to 5 pm. It’s on Wharf Road N1 and you can do what I did and combine it with a look at Kusama’s pumpkins, which are on display in the garden at Victoria Miro until 19th December.

Photos are by Stephen White, courtesy of the artist and the Parasol Unit.

8 thoughts on “Big, bold and sometimes noisy – Shinro Ohtake at the Parasol Unit

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