Suspended Room, Activated House of 1/10 Scale

Atsushi Watanabe

Suspended Room, Activated House of 1/10 Scale is a scale model of a performance by Watanabe in a solo exhibition in 2014. For this performance, Watanabe voluntarily enclosed himself in a small house-shaped box, the size of a tatami mat. He was physically and mentally isolated, escaping his situation after seven days on his own accord. Watanabe states: Isolation often has trauma in the background. However, in Buddhist practice, there are things that require being alone to face the inner surface of oneself.

Just like I’m Here Project, this work sheds light on the hikikomori phenomenon - a form of extreme isolation - and Watanabe’s own experience having lived as hikikomori for 3 years.

Courtesy the artist & private collection
2014 - cement, LED light, acrylic box, half mirror sheet, wood
Image credit: Atshushi Watanabe - Suspended Room, activated house © Keisuke Inoue, Private Collection

Atsushi Watanabe
°1978, Kanagawa, Japan

Atsushi Watanabe is a Japanese artist whose subject matter varies from new religions, economic disparity, homelessness, animal rights, sexual minorities, hikikomori to mental illnesses; themes often viewed negatively and as taboo by society. In recent years, Watanabe has worked on numerous projects with emotionally scarred people - often mediated through internet connections - in order to investigate hidden social issues, as well as his own experiences as a hikikomori. In doing so, his work tackles the possibility and impossibility of empathy between insiders and outsiders, and of the nature of social inclusion, as well as extending to themes of society, culture, welfare and psychology. Watanabe graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including: “Atsushi Watanabe” (Daiwa Foundation, London, 2019) and “My wounds/Your wounds” (Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery, Tokyo, 2017).