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26Mount Fuji

Hitoshi Ushijima *1963, Tanushima Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan. Lives and work in Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan

My parents were running a small iron factory in a small town in Kyushu island, Japan. The factory is still running and now I am the one who is taking care of it. Mostly, we are making playground equipment for children to play. In my childhood, I was grown up with those playground equipment which was just there, neither in the park nor school yard but in my place.

One time, when I was a teenager I went a kindergarden with my father for setting up to install the merry-go-round that my father made. When we started to set up this play thing, one kid found out that we brought something new for him, then he yelled and just in a moment, over 100 of small kids came over and surrounded us with every delightful eyes, and we could not move because they were like sticky dumpling. It was a moment of pure joy. I am caught by this memory and it reminds me of joy and delight I felt over and over again. For me to think about the statement as artist, I now recall this memory as this is the exact reason why I am doing or being an artist.
My work began to compare and combine with the two images. A cooling tower of a nuclear power plant and Mt. Fuji. As a Japanese, I love Mt.Fuji, every person in Japan knows about Mt. Fuji as a symbol of Japan. and then as a Japanese I am worrying about the disaster of Fukushima nuclear power plant.
I believe in being Artist is to present and express the way of living life itself, so my concern is my expression. I would like for people to feel joy and delight when they see my work. And at the same time, I am expressing my concern and curiosity. I hope this note will help you to understand about my concern, curiosity.


© Sofie Isaksson / OpenART

One of our partners about their involvement in this artwork:
Simple is beautiful, we sometimes say. But the simple is also often the most accessible. Simplicity is translatable, whenever it takes shape, to many people’s experiences. Hitoshi Ushijima builds gigantic steel pipe structures that borrow their shapes from the climbing structures of playgrounds: a digging machine, a horse, a dragon, a globe. Colourful as toys, they appeal to us with their friendly shapes.
In Örebro, Ushijima has built a steel sculpture full of swaying elegance, non-Euclidean geometry for the mathematically inclined, and stylized shapes of Japan’s national symbol: Mount Fuji. It plays a major role in Japanese art history in many ways. Here also is a reference to something darker: the shape of the cooling tower that is sometimes used in nuclear power plants.
Ushijima once worked as a performance artist and has studied avant-garde dance under the master Tanaka Min.