2006-2008 18x22x21cm Holz, IKEA-Katalog, Metall
Norio Takasugi is a Berlin-based sculptor whose passion for collecting things is also expressed in his art, creating sculptures as serial products in diverse models.
The birds is a series of 35 unique copies made of poplar and precisely plastered with hundreds of small paper cuts in the tradition of harie 貼り絵, a Japanese art of creating images or portraits. The paper cuts are taken from IKEA catalogues where many little details are to be found on their printed pages. For Takasugi these warehouse catalogues activate the imagination: by looking at the different objects and imagining them in your own life.
The artworks are only complete with their wrapping. Wrapping (tsutsumu 包む) things has a special meaning in the context of Japanese ritual and belief, signifying not only enveloping something with a covering, but demarcating it as special and sacred. In that sense wrapping is more than a convenience, but something to which the artist gives special thought and care. The birds are wrapped in serial birdhouses, laid out with wood wool and provided with round little peepholes, small straps and labels.
The sculpture series subtly comments on mass production and today’s omnipresent consumerism, which is particularly distinctive in Japan. Takasugi creates imitations of mass products and make them individual products request people to treat things affectionately and keep them for a long time, instead of buying cheap things and then throwing them away.
Most of the motifs of Takasugi’s sculptures are animals, like frogs or monkeys. His individual sculptures are typical models, given that they exist in thousands of different species.
Text by Leila Haghighat
 The significance of tsutsumu can be explained as an act that makes offerings as pure and clean and separates them from dirt or defilement. It is said, moreover, that tsutsumu derives from the word tsutsushimu 愼, which means to be discreet and restrained, and to show respect.