Daikon Tower By Kosen Ohtsubo

Kosen Ohtsubo, ロックンロール大根タワーI / Rock’n’roll Radish Tower I, 1989, archival photo by Koichi Taniguchi, installed at Paid , Seattle, July-Aug 2022

Friend and hero of the blog Christian Alborz Oldham has long been an insightful thinker and practitioner of ikebana and its relationship to contemporary developments in art, both in Japan and beyond. In late July and early August he curated an exhibition of archival photos of one of the masters of contemporary/freestyle ikebana, Kosen Ohtsubo, at Paid in Seattle. It was arranged in collaboration with the artist, his school Ryusei-ha, and Empty Gallery of Hong Kong, and is accompanied by an essay by Oldham, and archival writings and reviews of Ohtsubo’s work. The show’s closed now, but installation images are available, and open edition posters of a selection of the images are available via Device for US shipping.

Without getting too this-looks-like-that about it, the work above, Rock & Roll Radish Tower, suddenly reminded me of Yayoi Kusama’s work, especially the stuffed shadow boxes she made in the ’80s. I mean, the daikon’s phallic symbolism is as much a staple of Japanese culture as the daikon itself. There’s definitely enough to go around.

Christian Kōun Alborz Oldham Selections from the Photographic Archive of Kosen Ohtsubo, Presented by Christian Kōun Alborz Oldham, and in cooperation with Kosen Ohtsubo, Ryusei-ha, and Empty Gallery July 23 – August 6 [paid.exchange, that’s the url, not spon disclosure]