‘Splitting and returning’ or ‘wari modoshi’, embraces a traditional Japanese method of stone carving in which larger blocks are split into manageable portions, then to be fused into a single sculpture.
Taking this convention to engage with issues of contemporary life and art making, Okamoto entrusts his fragments of stone to selected people around the world for five years. During this time, the stones absorb their surrounding environment through an ‘infiltration of life’ as he describes it. The aim is for each piece of stone to remain beside the collaborator; kept in a pocket or a bag, on a table in the home, on a desk, in a workshop, a kitchen, a bathroom or even outdoors on a veranda. This slow weathering and the traces of contact result in a unique colouring so that there is a tonal, patchwork effect in the reassembled ‘Turtle’ pieces. “Stone keeps huge memories inside it, ever since the planet came into existence. I feel that stone is the most romantic and intellectual object on earth”, he says. “The pieces of stone scattered to various people of different cultures, jobs and life styles will be infiltrated by a life, hence ‘Volume of Lives’ as the title”.
For his AF Projects show, Okamoto has made a new work, ‘Volume of Lives – from London’ 2012 – 2017, to take its place alongside two completed works. 49 stone pieces, all marked with delicately inscribed numbers, are presented in their assembled form. During the exhibition ‘collaborators’ will be recruited.
Okamoto has exhibited world wide, and lives in Tokyo, where he teaches at the Joshibi University of Art and Design. He trained at the Tama Art University and his work is in public collections including The University of Warwick UK and The Water Art Museum, Japan.