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Tajiri working on centafoam Ronin



"The Warrior, Guerrier, and Samurai were recurrent themes in my work. They expressed the need to purge myself of the horrors of the war. Sculpturally they were based on medieval armor and shamanistic fetishes." - Shinkichi Tajiri

Tajiri last series of warrior sculptures are entitled Ronin. A Ronin is a Samurai who has no master to serve, the explanation for that being is when a Daimyo (military lord) dies, his warriors automatically becomes a Ronin.

In 1995 Tajiri returns to the theme of the warrior when he receives a commission from the VVDM and the AVNM, both organized interest groups for Dutch military personnel, by mediation of  Stroom HCBK (Center for the visual arts The Hague), and in connection with the abolition of conscription.

The Ronin figures are made up entirely of flat shapes, which are first cut out of sheets of centafoam. The paradoxical aspect which typifies Tajiri’s work is most apparent in the fact that the Ronin are proud and heroic in appearance, yet are very fragile and breakable in material.

As a soldier, Tajiri personally experienced man's fragility and vulnerability. Tajiri continued to work on a series of Ronins inspired by the story about the suicide of 47 ronin - samurai without master - in 1700.



text: H. Westgeest, Silent dynamism and oneness in multiformity,  Waanders Publishers, Zwolle, Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Amstelveen, 1997

photo above: © Gerlinde de Geus, 1997

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