Tatzu Nishi | The Real Reasons for Unbreakable Habits and How to Deal with Them

Taking space outside the “white cube” as the main stage of his activities, Tatzu Nishi strives to dissimilate our world with the sudden appearance of private space in locations of a highly public nature. Under the watchwords “humor, violence, and sexiness,” he adopted the model of strictly temporary public art beginning in the late 1990s and has since stayed in the vanguard of the times, setting forth new artistic directions. He has made seemingly impossible ideas possible with street art that differs completely from graffiti-like street paintings, and this was his first show in a gallery in about 10 years.

Titled “The Real Reasons for Unbreakable Habits and How to Deal with Them,” the exhibition was held at ANOMALY from January 25 to February 22, 2020. 

Tatzu Nishi dynamically dissimilates familiar sights and scenes by shifting their context. For example, he may construct rooms that incorporate a local monument or streetlight right into the installation, transforming it into a living room or hotel room that is then actually offered for booking. He has produced many large-scale projects that easily overturn our entrenched ideas.

Tatzu Nishi has essentially brought what is private into a public venue, thereby smashing everyday outlooks and compelling an inversion of values. In “The Real Reasons for Unbreakable Habits and How to Deal with Them,” however, his practice is the opposite, in that he brings things that have an outdoor or non-artistic context into the indoors (i.e., the peculiar space that is an antiseptic gallery).
Wielding amazing technique, Nishi positions various everyday objects and tools that are ordinarily not seen in gallery space in a “white cube.” His grand vision transcends established concepts of all stripes and creates a distinctive space that could even be described as “umheimlich.”(*1)

These objects may be exemplified by a large and heavy tree that was hard to haul into the gallery, fragments of a vehicle that should be running down roads, and furniture and electrical appliances from home. All sorts of such everyday articles reveal their otherness when they are deprived of their usual context and set up in the space of a gallery.
While representing the local culture, the articles in the assemblages put together by Nishi do not appear to have been chosen on the basis of any particular perspective or preference. Brimming with surprise and humor, they are at the same time colored by a cold objectivity, and leave all meaning suspended in mid-air. By ignoring their proper use, the artist restores the articles to their essential state as objects and throws their inherent form and shape into sharp relief.

Nishi is a titan who reduces and converts the meaning of things so that we can see them as they really are, full of wonder. The sight conveys a feeling of otherness that can be shared by all people, regardless of their culture, and dramatically amplifies our powers of imagination.

– “Heimlich” is a German adjective that literally means “home-like” and refers to things that are secret or intimate. “Unheimlich,” its negative, is applied to the emergence of something that is eerie or had been unseen.

Tatzu Nishi
Tatzu Nishi Solo Exhibition The Real Reasons for Unbreakable Habits and How to Deal with Them

Thumbnail Image : “The Real Reasons for Unbreakable Habits and How to Deal with Them” Installation view ©︎Tatzu Nishi
Photo by Keizo Kioku, Courtesy of the artist and ANOMALY