Motohiko Odani’s – Phantom Limb at the Mori

I found this exhibition profound in that the works convey not only a mastery of technique (the works are highly polished), but also by the depth of thinking evidenced within the work, this for me is deeply engaging. Odani explores binaries such as beauty and ugliness, life and death, the spiritual and the secular, along with notions of absence, and traces…phantoms, which, in less capable hands could present as cliché at best.

Motohiko’s pieces, to my mind, are reminiscent of certain Surrealist works in that they are imbued with psychological aspects, but also concerned with the realm of human bodily consciousness as evident by his selection of media (i.e. teeth, human hair). In this way the works are not disinterested artworks meant to function independently, but rather are thoroughly engaging to the audience at a conceptual, aesthetic and phenomenological level.

The result is an experience that I think would be at times unsettling and creepy, at others sublime and wonderful. I am completely engaged with this work as a fantastical, immersive, otherworldly experience, yet simultaneously grounded in my own human-ness. I would love to see and experience it ‘in the flesh’.

When I consider how this work might have relationship to my own work and ideas I do see some parallels of images and languages. In particular my interest in the figure – the representation of the body as a site and the subject of the work is a key for me – and in my opinion Motohiko also. My work as does Odani’s has resonance with the gothic imagination, life and death, an alternate reality in the space: time continuum, science fiction and the use of narrative.

Within Odani’s work narrative relates to film and stories about ghosts, transfiguration, metamorphosis and the life/death force. Whereas my narratives so far carry psychological and spiritual themes concerned with loss, life and death and hegemonic control in contemporary society. Odani is a useful guide for me as an example of an artist who is accomplished and compelling when handling profound themes, he is an imaginative, inventive story -teller.




Motohiko Odani ,2013. Phantom Limb. Mori Art Museum, Tokyo : Japan.






Motohiko Odani ,2013. Phantom Limb. Mori Art Museum, Tokyo : Japan.


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