Taku Obata from Saitama, Japan was born in 1980. After graduation from the Department of Sculpture in Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA), he completed the Special Graduate Course (sculpture) at TUA in 2008. That same year, he won the best award (3D and installation category) in Tokyo Wonder Wall
He has presented solo exhibitions in the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection in 2012, Jonathan LeVine Gallery in 2014 and Watarium Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo in 2018. Taku Obata is also a breakdancer and is active as a founding member of UNITYSELECTIONS hip-hop team (organized in 1999) and BBOYGER tactical hip-hop unit (organized in 2007).
The work of Taku Obata revolves around the body in motion, notably in breakdance. Deeply connected to B-Boy culture in Japan, Obata captures, exaggerates and deforms the human body in dancing movement, emphasizing the bodies’ shapes, poses, and physiques, while eliminating the emotional or inner elements of the figures. His persistent interest in the body is also reflected in the medium he chooses — wood sculpture. By linking this physically demanding and time-consuming Japanese traditional technique with the modernity of his subject that emanates from vibrant hip-hop culture, Obata embodies a dynamic decomposition of body and movement within a broader cultural context.
In January 2020, I spoke with Obata at Bomma Gallery at his most recent exhibition in Paris. We talked about his journey and his all-white porcelain sculpture release. Featuring a new dynamic form of Obata’s ubiquitous ‘B-Boy’ character in a squatting position. The artist with the gallery developed the series in Limoges using traditional ceramic techniques.