Tomokazu Matsuyama Celebrates Meiji Shrine Centennial With Massive 15-Foot Sculpture

A part of the Meiji Jingu Forest Festival of Art.

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Brooklyn-based Japanese artist Tomokazu Matsuyama has brought a monumental stainless steel sculpture to Tokyo as part of the Meiji Jingu Forest Festival of Art. Curated by Art Powers Japan, the festival of arts and culture celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Meiji Shrine, one of the most historical Shinto shrines in Japan dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken.

Best-known for his vibrant compositions and murals, Matsu has unveiled a 15-foot sculpture titled Wheels of Fortune. A departure from his usual style that draws from pop culture imagery and street art motifs, the striking work combines the form of deer antlers with an intricate car-like wheel. The decision to use antlers references the Shinto belief that deer are the messengers to the gods.

Recognizing the connection between nature and art in Japan, Matsu creates a sculpture that symbolizes both the contemporaneity of modern society and the universality of ancient times. Its natural, fluid form contrasts with its industrial materiality, evoking a duality of states. The work is nestled in the forest right before passing through the first torii gate to enter the shrine.

Take a closer look at the sculpture above. Wheels of Fortune is planned to be exhibited until the end of 2020, alongside works by artists such as Kohei Nawa, Misa Funai and Atsuhiko Misawa.

For more sculptures, check out Pace Gallery’s online viewing room titled “Material Matters.”

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