BY NOBUHIKO AKIYOSHI
galrie a director
I met Mr. Kinuta just as I was working out the initial plans for an online gallery. He is an old friend of Mr. Onishi who is helping with this project on the creative side. When I heard from Mr. Onishi that Mr. Kinuta was making stuffed toys by hand, I thought I would like to share, with him, the experiences and ideas that I have gained from my career. I expected we might be able to do something interesting together if we united over his work. The use of cloth and hand-sewing techniques share a lineage with the apparel industry, which I originally work with and around. In addition, these techniques are normally used to create clothing, but in the case of Mr. Kinuta, they are used towards the building of his stuffed toys. It seems like a short time ago, but it was actually a long time ago. When we first started to get to know each other, we started with finding themes, and looking back on past works. We had a lot of discussions, such as what he envisioned for the direction of his work for the future. Looking at the past works, I can confirm the consistency of his quality of his artistic craft and of the unique sewing style that are made so intricately. To me it’s insane. However, the point for this project was try to create his new concept in combination with my ideas. After many twists and turns, we came to his original cat theme motif. The next thing we worked on was the selection of materials. For me, of course, I wanted him to use materials that only I could source, and I obsessed over what his crafts would look like if he used new materials that he rarely had access too before. With that in mind, we sourced 100% pure wool sample materials called ʻMass-Mihon*ʼ used for suiting fabric from the great weaving factories in Bisyu-area, Japan’s historical textile manufacturing district. Mass-Mihon* is used as a sample to test various woven structures, patterns, and color variations, so it is possible to incorporate many colors and patterns to stuffed toys. These samples have been archived by these long-established factories for decades. I also believed that the high-end wool hand (fine thread wool) makes stitch marks more pronounced.*Mass-Mihon has a diverse set of motif and color types. Furthermore, I was particularly interested in the eye expression through texture. For the stuffed cat’s eye parts, we use very high-quality buttons such as black or white-lipped pearl oyster buttons, nut, real horn, or made of wood among other things.Looking at the final product, I’m proud of his unprecedented vision and expression, as well as his work befitting of this exhibition, after his long 13 years away from his private practice. The origin of the title, Pause or Pose?, is based on his cat illustrations which have gestural posture and unique body expression. It comes from the fact that Mr. Kinuta seems to be cutting out a moment in time where cats are posing, knowing that they are being watched by him.The online exhibition seeks to fully display the variety of angles and changes in expressions to convey the indescribable feeling from viewing their playful demeanor.
- Masayuki Kinuta was born in Nara Prefecture in 1974. Because of his father being a mushroom scholar, he developed a strong interest in animals and insects in his childhood. In his teens, he started painting and also became involved in the music scene. When he began feeling stuck by the limitations of 2D mediums like painting, he then started making stuffed toys using pieces of his old denim. It may have been inspired by the 90’s music scene which he was immersed in. He felt that there was no similar artist to him and it made him more passionate about making his artwork. However, nobody ordered his works and there were also no chances for him to show, but still he kept on creating. At that time information was not as readily available as it is now, but he managed to encounter many people through his work. A lot of people, especially those in fashion, were interested, including Pierre Fournier, a store manager at ANATOMICA in Paris. At the end of his 2008 solo exhibition, he moved his base from the Kansai area, south Japan, to Tokyo. After coming to Tokyo, he was discovered by an art producer and participated in a corporate CSR project. He also succeeded in making commission with a fashion brand to undertake the production. In 2020, he stopped because of the pandemic and asked himself, “Are you truly making what you want to express?” During that time, he met Mr. Akiyoshi, who was preparing to establish his own project, “galerie a.” This year, 2021, Masayuki Kinuta will announce work under his own name for the first time in 13 years.
- In his notebook
- When a new creation begins, he buys a notebook made by MOLESKIN. The captures a fragment of inspiration he draws the path to the completion of artwork. Newspaper clippings, musicians photos, animated characters, drawings, poetry, imaginary creatures, biological imitations recorded like pictorial books, bits of cloth, Design drawings etc.
Space with cats
- Open gallery
- You can see the work on the following schedule. We look forward to seeing you there.
* Appointment is not required.
- Open gallery
- 2021.4.1THU - 4.4SUN12:00 - 18:00
※ Please be sure to wear a mask to take care of cough etiquette when you come in the space. Please also use hand sanitizer at the entrance. Gallery staff will wear a mask to welcome you.
- Gallery Direction
- Nobuhiko Akiyoshi