Persimmon Life Studies

Hiroshi Sunairi – Elephant Dinner

Hiroshi Sunairi’s sculptural installation “Elephant Dinner” at Wako

From Tokyo Art Beat, originally here

Sunairi’s sculptural installation “Elephant Dinner” is based on the Buddhist fable, “Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant.”
When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, ‘Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?’ “Thereupon the men who were presented with the head answered, ‘Sire, an elephant is like a pot.’ And the men who had observed the ear replied, ‘An elephant is like a winnowing basket.’ Those who had been presented with a tusk said it was a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said it was a plough; others said the body was a grainery; the foot, a pillar; the back, a mortar; the tail, a pestle, the tuft of the tail, a brush. (Udana 68-69)
Like everyday objects, table ware, and furniture, ceramic elephant body parts are arranged on a table. This is a sequel installation to Sunairi’s most recent work, “White Elephant” presented at the Japan Society in New York. In “White Elephant,” Sunairi created a life-sized deconstructed elephant as a memorial for 9/11. “Elephant Dinner” also employs the same white ceramic medium, only this time, the abstraction of body parts are enhanced, projecting the idea of relativity expressed in the fable.

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