New artwork in the collection – sculpture "Skull" by Japanese artist Otani Workshop

The Lewben Art Foundation has acquired a new artwork to add to its international art collection – the sculpture "Skull" (2018) by the Japanese artist Otani Workshop.

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Otani Workshop artist Shigeru Otani in his massive studio on Awaji island in Japan (Photo: Ringo Cheung, Courtesy of the Artist and Perrotin, 2020)

Otani was born in 1980, in Shiga Prefecture, currently lives and works in Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The artist entered the sculpture program at Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts in 1999, having taken a year off from his studies for an immersive personal pilgrimage throughout Japan, Otani graduated in 2004 and returned to Shiga. From 2005 he started using the artist name Otani Workshop.

After being discovered by fellow artist Takashi Murakami in Tokyo in 2010, Otani was offered exhibitions at Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo, as well as at Perrotin and Blum & Poe. His heavy exhibition schedule in Tokyo quickly expanded to include yearly solo shows overseas, in Shanghai, Seoul, Paris, and New York City, and many major group shows at home and abroad. Otani Workshop until now is represented by Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo, and Perrotin, Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

His sculptures greet viewers with a disarming simplicity and naivety, with their witty renderings of the human face. The works suggest a world experienced without filters and responded to with affection. They also demonstrate an admirable mastery of traditional ceramic techniques and a tremendous attention to detail. They are kind and embody ancient traditions distilled through a highly individual vision.

Otani Workshop likes to spot human faces and animal shapes in stones and other inanimate objects – a sensibility he likens to the animism of Shinto, which teaches that all things are imbued with a spirit. ‘I want to create work that has a spirit of its own,’ he wrote in an exhibition text accompanying his 2020 show at Perrotin in New York. This almost shamanistic motivation is an underlying element in much of the artist's work.

Photoreportage from the special screenings of Vilnius International Film Festival "Kino Pavasaris" at the Lewben Art Foundation Special screenings of Vilnius International Film Festival "Kino Pavasaris" at the Lewben Art Foundation
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