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Tadashi Kawamata

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Artist 294

Tadashi Kawamata

Installation Art

Reclaimed Wood

Tadashi Kawamata (born 1953) is a Japanese artist known for his wooden sculptural installations. He is known to construct temporary site-specific structures that ask viewers to reassess their environments. He is influenced by his childhood interest in urban spaces. Notably, the artist often employs residents living near his site-specific installations.

He engages with the ideas of home, shelter, and social contexts. Kawamata creates these installations in both public and private spaces.

Like an architect, he assembles a team to collectively build works based on his project plans and plywood collage studies.

His installations range from humble tree huts that perch on building façades in high-profile urban settings to nest like structures and ceiling canopies. He has also built shelters in urban spaces to bring awareness to homelessness.

His work is mostly made from mass-produced materials like wooden pallets, balsa wood, corrugate tin, and cardboard.

Tadashi playfully suggests a link between socio-economic status and architectural styles of land. He uses his sculptural installations to reflect and challenge existing spaces.

He places a lot of emphasis on the production process and having local communities participate in the construction of his work adding elements of society and history to his work.

His work aims to transcend an art context and extends to explore fields such as architecture and city planning, history, sociology, everyday communication, and even medical treatment.

He works in the midst of demolition and construction.

When asked about the reason for creating such pieces, Kawamata modestly replies, “I don’t believe in permanence. It’s a totally abstract concept. I think human beings created the idea to help their imagination. But life is short, life is temporary; just like human beings.”

Sources consulted


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