Takehiko Sanada has an unusual background for an artist. He studied fashion and, from 1985 till 1992, he worked as a designer with Issey Miyake.
But, take a look at the complex objects and sculptures the 48-year-old assembles from fabrics and other materials, and it is clear that his unusual background is serving him well.
For the next two months his work is on display at Atelier Muji, an exhibition space within the Muji store at Yurakucho in Tokyo. The venue is a difficult one for an artist — it is separated from the store floor by only a large glass wall.
“The important thing was to get people’s attention,” Sanada explains. “The work needed to be participatory in nature.”
Sanada has used white string to create a large tree, and visitors are invited to write seasonal wishes on paper and tie them around the branches. The theme of the work is to “bind,” and the work will transform over the next two months into different shapes suited to other themes, such as “circle” and “connect,” which were decided on to suit the mood following the March 11 earthquake.
“Art used to be something that you went to an art gallery or a museum to see,” Sanada says. “But I think the times have changed, and now it’s necessary for art to get out into other environments, including commercial ones like this.”
“Winter Solstice: Bind, Circle, Connect” continues at Atelier Muji through Feb. 14. It will be closed Dec. 26, 31 and Jan. 11. For details, visit www.mujiyurakucho.com.