Whitestone Gallery is pleased to present Japanese artist, Madara Manji’s first solo exhibition in Taipei.
Madara Manji was born in Tokyo in 1988. To learn toreutic techniques for the foundation of his further works, he moved to Kyoto after graduating from high school and worked as an apprentice under a toreutic master. After years, he aspired to become an artist in developing the foundation in various metal-processing skills and continues to self-learn and present artwork.
Madara Manji creates simple and modern sculpture through mastering Mokume-gane, a traditional Japanese toreutic technique. The development of Mokume-gane began c.400 years ago in the early Edo period. Layers of different metals were stacked together to create exquisite patterns that were decorated on Samurai swords, to symbolize beauty and power. As the Samurai culture faded, the procedure-heavy and time-consuming “Mokume-gane” nearly disappeared, that was until the recent collections and studies conducted by international art museums brought the technique back onto the world stage. Above all, Madara Manji is a pioneer in first adopting the traditional craft as a method to create.
Living with an austere life, Madara Manji uses the simplest tools to repetitively hammer various non-ferrous metal materials like gold, silver, copper, brass, etc. Similar to our inner thoughts, the creation that took a long period to form are not entirely compatible, but display beautiful patterns. The incompatible thoughts and feelings simultaneously collide and counteract, at the same time, thrive and advance on the verge of extremes. Such absurdities and transcendences are not confined to the intra-personal but coincide between oneself, one another, and even with the society as a whole. This is the extant virtue of human survival.
The “Uncovered Cube” series may appear similar in shape and size, but there are, in fact, subtle discrepancies. The artist uses the “Cube” to manifest different silhouettes of human nature. He adopts an artistic direction to investigate humanity and the essence of materials from three-dimensional extension to plane. This exhibition further presents the freshest series from Madara Manji, “Revision,” compiled from a wide range of materials. This includes photo collages, fabrics, and acrylics. Over the constantly identical forging process of Mokume-gane, he then probes the limitation on integrations and coexistences of multimedia, projects his reverse studies of distinct humanities, and accumulates into a personal observation notebook packed with contradictions and recurred hearing in himself of humankind.