Devi, Pods, Flowers and Phantasm
Matsuoka is a soft-spoken chubby little fellow. His childish physical
attributes and quaint composure somehow seem to be in key with what
he makes. He makes human figures, and even parts of it and also
birds, masks that remind one of childish dreams visited by spectres
that are graceful amalgams of humans and flowers or even vegetables.
His is a fantastic world inhabited by harmless, beautiful mutants.
They beckon you to touch them, as they look as if they have descended
from an absurdist fairytale.
certain artist's dream"
solo consists of two sets of works, one set showing his photographs
that are clips from his theatrical surreal dramas that tell stories.
Stories that he made up, and presents them in sequence. But they
have their antecedents in the local myth of the Sakushima island
artist relates that there is a temple in the island where a sea
goddess is worshipped. The goddess, according to the myth, saved
a child washed away to the sea by flood. The devi saves the child
and returns it to her mother. Basing his stories on this popular
myth, Toru fabricates the rest of it, which are his own myths.
one picture he shows two women in wired props attached to their
upper bodies and hands and back. The bright yellow props derive
their shapes from the Buddhist chura (long hair tied up in a knot
on the top of the head), from the temple edifice and imaginary flowers.
In his myth the same goddess “is in search of happiness” as Toru
relates. He elaborates, “ the two ladies in two different props
are at different stages of their search, one has seen a faint glimpse
of happiness and the other one is far away from finding it. In another
photograph, a childless couple in mysterious masks are searching
for a child. The artist puts them in the same Sukushima island.
his photographs as well as in his sculptures he seems to want to
marry the childish with the mystic. The religiosity behind his efforts
is obvious. Every piece is a result of an awe-struck mind that responded
to the myths and the surrounding physical environment with the zeal
of a pantheist. Hence the fusion of flowers, vegetables and human
forms into components of pure innocence.
of humans, in his line of thinking, is wound up with every other
organic matter. This is why the bulbous form that pops out of his
human head, which in Toru's words “the embodiment of thoughts”,
looks like a fine round vegetable. Even his human head, occasionally,
are meshed with organic forms. In the work titled “ a certain artist's
dream” the flames have the shape of
His expertise in making his small-sized paper sculptures links him
with a Japanese tradition that goes back a long way. “The figures
are first made with clay, and it is an old process,” confirms the
artist. It is the subsequent addition of layers of Japanese hand-made
paper that become the skin of the original form made with clay.
The skin later becomes his sculpture, when the clay is scooped out.
The process lends his art a lightness that is essentially post-modern.
The colour of his paper art is often yellow, and at times yellow-orange
and only occasionally red. His yellow and orange are colours of
pollen and the red too is carrot-red.
hovers in between the worlds of organic and mythic imagery, grace
is the air that makes up the environ.