Untitled work by Ohtsubo depicting vegetables in a box frame

Artist Transforms Sculptures Using Fruits and Vegetables

Japan-based artist Kosen Ohtsubo is putting a spin on ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arranging. Ohtsubo is an unorthodox ikebana artist and his works transform the ideas of tradition and elegance in ikebana.

Kosen Ohtsubo and Empty Gallery

“I want to explode the idea of beautiful ikebana.”

Ohtsubo is just as likely to use scraps of food and garbage as flowers and twigs in his sculptures.

He once created a piece by throwing tomatoes at a wall.

Ohtsubo’s studio is in Tokorozawa, a Tokyo suburb.

He was previously a student in the Ryusei school of ikebana which encouraged students to experiment and work outside of the classic forms. 

“In a way, rebellion is my signature” 

The artist appreciated this free approach, however believed that the default materials were elitist: traditional flowers or branches of plum trees. 

While branches and flowers are expensive, vegetables are generally accessible and cheap.

Almost anyone can have access to vegetables and talented artists can transform them into something beautiful.

The form of vegetables often only lasts a few days before it changes as the item begins to rot.

 Photo by Mari Maeda & Yuji Oboshi. Styled by Hanae Uwajima

Kosen Ohtsubo and Empty Gallery

This highlights two of ikebana’s core purposes: to depict the impermanence of beauty and to bring light to beauty that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Ohtsubo continues to search for art in unconventional places.

For example, one day while watching his wife make cabbage rolls, he thought, “This is ikebana.”

He then proceeded to create a sculpture using cabbage. 

Ohtsubo was one of the first of his kind and he continues to inspire others with his own ikebana style.

*partially sourced @ nytimes.com


 




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