urban75 blog

A wooden wonderland: Tadashi Kawamata Stairs at Annely Juda Fine Art gallery, Mayfair, London

Running until the 21st March 2015 and an absolute ‘must see’ is this wonderful installation by the Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata on display in central London.

Born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1953, Tadashi Kawamata is an artist-cum-architect who uses scrap or reclaimed materials, mostly wood, to create new and unusual structures.

A ramshackle wooden spiral staircase smashes through the middle of the art gallery, leading visitors through the third and fourth floor galleries to emerge under a glass skylight offering glimpses of London’s rooftops.

On the gallery’s third floor the spiral staircase dissects a large wooden dome roughly constructed from wooden pallets, with light breaking through the slats and wooden planks.

Walking around inside this precarious-looking structure makes for a curious and slightly unsettling experience, and it’s easy to imagine that you’re exploring a distant shanty town or walking through a forest home.

Across two floors can be seen Kawamata’s maquettes of tree houses and projects for Ghent and a Tsunami relief, made for a proposed project in Northern Japan, described as “an everlasting and ever evolving project that will emerge from the Tohoku tsunami.”

The gallery website describes his methods;

Tadashi Kawamata is an artist who transforms our environment, he works in the midst of demolition and construction. Usually using scrap or reclaimed materials, mostly wood, Kawamata sets about building new and unusual structures; a bridge between an apartment block and a museum, a wooden walkway that leads from a town centre to a lakeside, slum dwellings constructed in a picturesque park. Kawamata’s aim is to turn these environments inside out, and present the viewers with a completely fresh view of their surroundings.

Tadashi Kawamata: Stairs
Admission free
19 February–21 March 2015

Annely Juda Fine Art
4th Floor, 23 Dering Street
London W1S 1AW
Opening hours
Monday–Friday 10:00–18:00
Saturday 11:00–17:00