susan smitten (chu_hi) wrote,
susan smitten

イチハラヒロコ: Art we serendipitously found

As we walked back into Namba from our failed attempt to see The Underground Project, I noticed these works by Ichihara Hiroko wrapped around a building that was under construction. I knew it was her right away because I have one of her books and I've looked at pictures of her work on the net.

This is typical of her work: typographical design, black on white with no serifs. These messages appear on buttons, ashtrays, walls, shopping bags, and so on.

Is it considered poetry? I'm not sure, but her work seems to represent a different kind of Japanese poetry, measured not by syllables, but by aesthetic perfection. This concept suits Japanese well, since the language is written in three character sets which are, for all practical purposes, interchangable.

(The artist always prints her name in katakana, which is, visually, as different from Chinese characters as it gets.)

Enough of my rambling - take a look!

My Japanese is somewhat lacking, so I'd love it if someone could help me interpret these. I can look up the words, but I don't think I get the subtle nuances quite right.

"Go your own way."

"Hard work pays off."

"Freedom packing." (??)

"Pray for a happy marriage."

I don't get that third one. "Konpou" means something like "styrofoam peanuts." So, "wrapped up in freedom?" "Protect your freedom?" "Insulate yourself and become free?" "Foam frees us all?" Is it a play on words? Something I'm not clever enough to understand? Or might the artist have simply liked stacking those characters like that? Anybody?
Tags: osaka

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