Yusuke Aonuma: Ephemeral Architecture

Feb 15, 2019

Yusuke Aonuma's grand prize winning entry to the 2018 Tokyo Midtown Design Competition. Individual dandelion seeds are fixed on clear plexiglass in geometric formations.
Credit Yusuke Aonuma

The Tokyo Midtown Award was created to encourage Japanese designers, artists, and people off the street to submit their bright ideas for potential recognition.  The idea is to show case uniquely “Japan Value”.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports, the 2018 Tokyo Midtown winner does bring a particular esthetic to the current show at UH Mānoa’s Art Department.

Tokyo based Artist/Educator Yusuke Aonuma won the 2018 Tokyo Midtown Grand Prize with his works using natural materials (dandelion seeds) to evoke a city scape. For his UH Manoa piece in the Commons Gallery, he will use natural materials found around O'au after recent winter wind storms.
Credit UH Manoa Art Department

Experiment and Awareness, an exhibition by Yusuke Aonuma continues through Wednesday, February 20, 2019 in the Commons Gallery at the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa Art Building. He will present his work in a special event this Tuesday, 6pm.  

Open to the public. Admission is free.
Tuesday, February 19
6:00–7:00 p.m., Presentation by Yusuke Aonuma 
ART Building, UHM, Room 101
Commons Gallery will be open following the presentation.

This exhibition highlights the work of Yusuke Aonuma, grand prize winner of the Tokyo Midtown 2018 annual art and design competition. Aonuma uses the dandelion (tanpopo タンポポ ) to form three-dimensional geometric and architectural structures.

Tokyo Midtown Award is a competition for discovering, supporting and collaborating with young artists and designers. 

Credit UH Manoa Art Department

"Because dandelions are rather a weed, they’re everywhere, and when they’re fluff, you pick them up and you blow it.  I was always fascinated by it."

Artist, educator, Yusuke Aonuma says it wasn’t until more recently that he really examined the inner workings of that common fluff ball.  Aonuma found himself making an art piece by laboriously deconstructing, then reconstructing a dandelion puff.

While he was reconstructing the fluff, he was transferring each seed one by one with a small pincet, so he had an opportunity to see individual dandelion seeds.  That’s when he noticed that one individual dandelion seed can act as a whole architectural structure.

So what, you say?  Aonuma used the individual seeds as architectural building blocks to create a mini 

Yusuke Aonuma. The Honolulu based exhibition, Experiment and Awareness, continues through Wednesday, February 20, 2019 in the Commons Gallery at the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa Art Building.
Credit UH Manoa Art Department

cityscape of dandelion seeds.  Each seed stands like an evanescent sparkler, lit from below.  Tiered, or arrayed like columns, each fragile, ¾ inch spindle with its little tuft, joins with others to form amphitheaters, capitals, colonnades, imaginary arenas.  Together, they achieve amazing geometries.

Aonuma:  I’m very curious and interested in the fact that they fly, they get blown in the wind. By rooting something that is actually meant to blow, like a dandelion seed, the way it acts as an architectural thing, that is what draws me in the most. 

Your cities are made of natural materials.

Aonuma:  Yes, exactly, and actually, if you just blow, my cityscape, the buildings, will collapse.  Actually, during the exhibition, it collapsed once. 

Aonuma notes, Maybe someone sneezed.