Endo contemplates the dilemma of man in dealing with the modern urban environment he has created. Like a growing number of artists he is concerned with the increasing alienation man feels not only between himself and his environment, but between his body and his spirit. Endo feels man is facing a crisis. Both physically and mentally man must adapt and change quickly when confronted with the instability of the modern world with its swift environmental destruction, the threat of nuclear holocaust, radiation, acid rain, the fear of sickness and AIDS.
He is concerned with the effect of modern society on the body; on the one hand, the unrelenting rhythms of society, unresponsive to individual feelings, must surely distort the body, on the other hand, biotechnology has also meant the body's movements may no longer be connected to the emotions. Endo became enthralled by his grandfather's pacemaker which, not affected by his movements or feelings, relentlessly pumped to an unchanging internal rhythm of 72 cycles per minute.
It was a printing accident in about 1985 that coalesced his feelings about the body. One day his lithographic plate slipped, distorting the skin of the body of his image and giving it the appearance of elephant hide. Endo became aware that this distortion altered one's normal response to the body, and forced a re-appraisal of the relationship to the spirit within the body.
He thus embarked on his series on the body and its appearance. His bodies, devoid of individuality, are studded with leathery skin, and manipulated by cables into and out of the body. There are intimations of bondage, discipline and control. However the contained power and stress emanating from these forms suggest there is still an unresolved tension between man's spirit and its new sheath. Endo seeks to express that immanent spirit inside the changing body.
Endo was born in Yamanashi Prefecture, completed Graduate School at Tama Art University, and now lives in Tokyo.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 25.
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
72.0 x 93.0 cm image; 79.5 x 110.0 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pencil "Ryuta Endo '90".
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Urban Bonsai:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992
- National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992
- Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993
- Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Moree Plains Gallery, Moree 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 25, 26 (colour illus.). cat.no. 7