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Tadahiro Gunji - Artist Spotlight

This artist spotlight is set up to mark the launch of Nepenthes New York’s latest art exhibition “In-Between (間 MA)”, delving further into the work of Tadahiro Gunji, which is showcased at the store. In this series, Nepenthes New York interviews the artist involved with the show, asking him questions about him art, the exhibition, and what New York means to him.


The interview continues below.

How did you begin your journey as an artist? 

Initially, I started my artistic journey as a graphic designer, creating graphic art. However, I felt a deep desire to move away from mass-produced designs and instead create unique pieces that were more mindful of materials, which led me to explore the realms of woodwork and resin. Additionally, I found great inspiration from visiting the Dia: Beacon Museum of Art in Beacon, New York. Witnessing the diverse range of artists and their expressive forms at the museum influenced my artistic exploration. It motivated me to find my distinct mode of expression, a path I have been actively pursuing ever since.

What is the structure of your workflow? 

In my artistic process, I embrace a balance between planning and spontaneity. My current focus revolves around the concept of "IN-BETWEEN," where I draw inspiration from my life experiences, particularly my children and the moments of my daily life. I begin by sketching out motifs that embody these themes.

For my collage works, I employ a variety of techniques. I cut and paste my drawn patterns to create visually engaging compositions - a process that is the foundation of my work, which I consider a form of artistic collectivity. However, I am open to the flow of creativity. During the creation process, I often find myself embracing new ideas and allowing them to shape the direction of the artwork. This flexibility allows for unexpected discoveries and gives my pieces a dynamic quality.

Ultimately, my workflow strikes a balance between planned elements and the organic evolution of the artwork, resulting in both deliberate and spontaneous pieces and constantly evolving as new ideas and inspirations come to me.

How do you choose your subject? 

When choosing my subjects, I delve into the multifaceted concept of "in-between." This interpretation is distinct from minimalism, which emphasizes the beauty found between things and things. It encompasses many meanings: the space between objects, the flow of time, the dynamism of relationships, the blending of colors, and the opportunities that arise in life.

For example, I often capture the nature of the connection between myself and my children or the emotions that arise within me in response to significant life events as my subject matter. These personal experiences are the starting point for my creative process.

As I delve further into my work, I explore a variety of shapes and colors. I seek to examine the dichotomy between geometric shapes and organic lines, sculpture and painting, and the Japanese cultural concepts of "elegance" and "solitude. I also explore the interplay between artificial and natural objects. By incorporating these elements, I concretize my work and convey the complexity within the ma.

With this approach, I aim to weave an interlocking narrative between the works, inviting the viewer to reflect on the subtle relationships and connections between different life aspects.

How did you formulate this exhibition?

This exhibition holds special significance as it marks my first time showcasing my artwork in a store setting. The genesis of this exhibition began with a collection of ideas I had already developed and stored within myself. I carefully selected the concepts that resonated with the specific location of the show. I find great joy in composing and arranging my pieces within this unique environment, allowing the site to inform and shape the overall presentation of the exhibition.

How long have you been living in New York City? 

I have been living in New York City since 2017. This vibrant and diverse city is significant to me as it catalyzes deep introspection and self-discovery. New York City constantly challenges me to reflect upon my Japanese roots, exploring the intricate dynamics between myself and others. It serves as a backdrop for me to contemplate my place within a larger societal context and grapple with the impact of various events, including the recent pandemic.

My workspace is an essential sanctuary for immersing myself in my creative process. Filled with materials, sketches, and projects in progress, it provides me with peace and focus. I play music and watch news and videos to create a meditative atmosphere and deepen my creative flow. I plan to move to a new studio soon. This space will be a hub for my creative immersion, experimentation with new materials, and endless inspiration in my artistic journey.


How did you become  involved with Nepenthes?

When I started working and earning money, I used to go to NEPENTHES in Shibuya and wear Engineered Garments (EG). The floral bucket hats, jackets made of fabrics I had never seen, and wool pants gave me a lot of creative inspiration. It ignited my exploration of materials. The dyed Indian fabrics deeply inspired me in his recent collection. I appreciate the opportunity to exhibit at Nepenthes New York, which is very important to me in fashion and creative history. 

What comes next for you?

As for my plans, I would first like to set up a new studio environment. I want to exhibit in Japan, where I have not been able to return for some time. My works will also bring me new inspiration and ideas from the deep exploration I generate there.