Japanese artist Yoshitoshi Kanemaki has been creating a buzz with his surreal, wooden sculptures. The human-scale, free-standing works balance a bizarre sense of humor with morbid elements. Kanemaki invokes allusions to death and the afterlife but softens their impact with his lighthearted approach. Rough around the edges, his work does not attempt to conceal evidence of the artist’s process. He puts his craftsmanship at the forefront, embracing the imperfections of his hand-carved surfaces. In one piece, a youthful protagonist grapples with a skeleton whose ribcage obscures his eyes. Works like these, though eye-catching and Pop-influenced, remind the viewers of their own mortality. Kanemaki’s work does not teach us to fear death, however, but embrace it as part of a life filled with oddities and imperfections.
Footage from Kanemaki’s recent exhibitions by Art Emperor.