EXHIBITION
CONCEPT
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BIOGRAPHY
/
VIEW WORKS
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INFORMATION
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INSTALLATION IMAGES
/
INTERVIEW

VOYAGES

COARSE

NOV 21, 2014 – FEB 13, 2015

CONCEPT

DIESEL ART GALLERY presents
the solo exhibition of sculptor duo coarse
for the first time in Japan.
Haunting, evocative sculptures by remarkable artists who won three prizes at
Designer Toy Awards 2014 !

In the exhibition “Voyages”, the artistic duo Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk present selected sculptures from their extensive body of work. coarse has received international recognition for their unique style of sculpting, which manipulates wood, resin and vinyl in striking ways. Their sharp edges and smooth curves create the illusion that the figures have been chiseled from stone. Their collaborative art piece Amnesty Freedom Candles recently won a Cannes Lion, and their representative art piece “the Passage” won three prizes
at Designer Toy Awards 2014.

In this exhibition, coarse exhibits their special presentation footage in addition to their representative art pieces “Noop World” and “Souls Gone Mad”, and the pictures. Also, a special Japanese version of the mascot owl “omen” from Souls Gone Mad is on sale at DIESEL ART GALLERY during the exhibition.

CONCEPT

Voyages
Through handcrafted original figures and limited vinyl editions, coarse’s three-dimensional visual storytelling captures provocative and sobering moments in which friendships wither, innocence shatters and vengeance lurks in the corners. Each series challenges its observers to connect the links between these moments, rendering coarse’s exhibitions immersive and participatory experiences.

Noop World
One of coarse’s most expansive collections is an existential series whose sculptures exhibit tableaus of lust, deceit, and despair. In this world, noops are creatures that grow on trees and are born each spring. Bewildered by their own existence and unaware of their purpose in the world, they let their instincts guide them. They befriend and fall in love with the paw species, but unfortunately these animals refuse to breed with anyone other than their own kind. A third species, the tentacled nisms, take a liking to noops, but the noops have no interest in their love. These triangulated relationships generate cyclical heartache, and before the noops have any time to rationalise their lives and harness joy from their boundless world, the winter harvest comes and they mysteriously vanish from their planet forever.

Souls Gone Mad
A bestial monster rows a boat that carries a watchful owl and a despondent young girl. A pyjama-clad boy stands resolutely while three curious owls surround him. In a similar pose, the same boy’s skin now exposes his skeleton. In coarse’s most recent series, the duo uses nightmarish imagery as a means of exploring the ways in which we shed our youth and lose our innocence. The juxtaposition of the movement of the rowboat with the stillness of the boy’s skeleton suggests that we can feel the passage of time and our own mortality either slowly and calmly or all at once, but the despondency in both of these sculptures reminds us that either prospect is a grim one.






BIOGRAPHY

  • coarse

    www.coarselife.com

    Works for the coarse world began in 2003, when German artists Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk started a distinct style of sculpting that looked almost as if they had chiselled and exposed the figures from three dimensional rock.
    The streamlined sculptures are hand crafted and finished at the coarse workshops in Hamburg and Hong Kong. The artists focus primarily on statues that range from small to life size, made from resin and/or fibreglass.
    Their work also includes photography, prints and objects, combining all aspects to create holistic pieces of art. Pieces that convey an alternate reality. A fiction brand. By using traditional toy production techniques, the original sculptures, ‘coarse originals’, are transformed into vinyl figures under the ‘coarsetoys’ imprint. As a result of living in two separate cultures, the artists blend eastern and western aesthetics. A possible explanation for the brand’s popularity worldwide.
    coarse figures are currently available in art toy stores and galleries across 28 countries worldwide.

VIEW WORKS

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Title
Voyages
Artist
coarse
Date
Nov 21, 2014 – Feb 13, 2015
Venue
DIESEL ART GALLERY
WEB
www.diesel.co.jp/art
Address
cocoti B1F, 1-23-16, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel
03-6427-5955
Hours
11:30 - 21:00
Holidays
Non-Regular Holiday
Curation
+81
Sponsor
D.D.WAVE Co.,Ltd.
TRNK
Curation
+81
+81 is a global visual magazine launched out of Tokyo in 1997. From graphic design to fashion, photography, film, and music, +81 magazine covers creative scenes around the world with a different theme every issue through interviews with artists along with samples of their artwork. Meanwhile, +81 has collaboratively worked with various international designers from advertising to product development and has organized the new creative conference Tokyo Graphic Passport worldwide. +81 recently opened up +81 Gallery in New York City.

INSTALLATION IMAGES

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

Photo: Kenji Takahashi

INTERVIEW

coarse
Special Interview

-- Please tell me about yourself.
Mark: Hi! My name is Mark Landwehr and I am one half of the artist duo better know as coarse. I live and work in Los Angeles, USA where our headquarters and studio are located.
Sven: …and my name is Sven Waschk the other half of coarse. I live in Hamburg, Germany and work in our office there.

-- How did you two meet and start working as coarse?
Mark: Both of us spent a lot of years working in advertising. By time we recognized that it is not a very fulfilling to work for clients without having the chance to fully express our own vision. Since we always were interested and fascinated in sculptural art we began to work on our own pieces. It took us a long time to learn how things work out, but it was absolutely worth it because by doing so we were able follow our own path and create something really unique.

--What does your name “coarse” derive from?
Mark: Actually this was not really intentional chosen. At some point of working we had to come up with a name for the things we were doing, something like a company name. I suddenly saw one of my Japanese sculpting files lying on the table, being labeled as ‘coarse’. This could be a good name for a project like this, I said to myself. Actually I still think it is because it combines aspects of our shape language with our conceptional way of designing and also links to the way the pieces are made.

-- Please tell me more about your background.
Sven: I started as a graphic designer and had always a heavy focus on sketching and drawing. Since I can remember I was fascinated by characters, it all started with 90's Cartoons, Super Mario and other video game characters. At some point in my life I started to draw my own characters. Finally Mark introduced me to sculpting and expanding my designs in to the third dimension. Since then I had been falling in love with making sculptures and creating characters that can be experienced visually and also physically.

--What is the most important thing while making your art pieces?
Sven: I think our whole work process is continuously forming each single piece so I would not claim a certain thing to be the most important one. Design wise you can say that we put a lot of effort in controlling shadows by working intensively on shapes. While working on a three-dimensional piece it is very important to include light and the resulting shadows in your design. By doing so it is possible to use light and the resulting shadows to exaggerate the look and feel of a sculpting. Also we like to play with the shapes and lines we are using. We believe that an appealing sculpture has to have rhythm.

-- Why do you work in three different places: Hamburg, L.A. and Hong Kong?
Mark: Every place has special advantages, which we use for our working process. But despite the fact that you can best produce sculptures from Hong Kong or getting the best tools and supplies in the Los Angeles it is also important where you feel home. For me that is LA now and for Sven this is Hamburg. I think it is really important to be happy with things around you if you put a lot of effort into your work as we do.

--Please tell me the concept and highlight of the “Voyages” exhibition.
Mark Our exhibition "Voyages" in the Diesel Art Gallery Tokyo shows sculptures from various periods of our history. It is a retrospective and features pieces of our early years as well as recent works. Since there are a lot of people in Japan who are not familiar with us, we thought it would be a good opportunity to give them a "best of coarse" to get a feeling what our work is all about. There are a lot of pieces in this exhibition we are very proud of and we really hope the people who come here to see them like them as much as we do.

-- Please tell me about “the passage” which has gained a lot of fans, received three awards at Designer Toy Awards 2014 and became one of your representative pieces.
Mark: The passsage set shows us three characters: Ruth, an omen and the void. In this scene Ruth is being brought to a darker place inside a dream world by the void. He is the dark toned ferryman, who tries to bring young minds into a place elsewhere of our rational world. Due to the fact of being a traveller between two worlds, that cannot be more different he is lacking identity. This is the reason why he uses a mask to look more like a horse. What his real intentions are or whom he is doing that for lies in shadows. He is also accompanied by an omen, which is feeding on feelings and fears that those poor souls bring to this strange piece of land.

-- Please tell me about “the passage -ignited.”
Mark: The passage ignited is a very special version of this piece. It comes with a very unique de-saturated color way combined with glow in the dark elements. Being able to experience a complete different look on the piece with seeing it in low light or no light at all was very important for us. We believe that most things can be seen in multiple ways and show different aspects of their appearance depending how you look at them. This is reflected in this special edition of the passage, which is available in the Diesel Art Gallery.

-- How long does it approximately take to make each art piece having unbelievably beautiful shapes by hand?
Mark: The time we use for sculpting and working on a piece differs a lot. A lot of decisions are made within the actual working process. Sometimes it can happen that in the middle of working on a piece we discover a shape that does not work for us, or even discover a shape or a detail that works far better. This makes the whole working process unpredictable, but also very exciting. Personally I think that having the freedom to explore shapes and appearances is the key to do art and is very recognizable in the final piece.

-- Your original characters make us feel melancholic and surrealistic. Is it intentional?
Sven: Due to the fact that there a lot of happy characters out there we were eager to create something that moves in the opposite direction. Normally the majority of characters out there are design to easy connect with you. They do that by communicating a fun and friendly attitude. But looking back at our life we recognize that those moments that remained in our memory or marked a important change are often not the happy ones. We feel that sad or exhausted attitude is giving the characters more emotional depth. Mixing this darker themes with sweet and happy looking elements can be a very interesting combination and creates a lot of tension, not only design wise but on a emotional level.

--Please tell me about omen, which is featured as your Japan limited edition.
Mark: We came up with a very special color way for the exclusive omen in which the famous cherry blossom bloom was playing a major role. We were inspired by the beauty you can experience visiting Japan in spring. This color way is a humble bow to one of the many beauties your country has to offer.

-- Please tell me about “coarse toys,” which always sell out right away.How do you make those characters?
Sven: First of all there is always a brief idea on the characters appearance, a theme we want to communicate or just a simple shape we like. We try to narrow down this idea by sketching different possible versions and begin to explore in which direction we want to move. Then the actual sculpting process starts. This is where we see how an idea really works out in the third dimension. With moving further and crafting the actual piece we constantly work on shaping the look of the sculpture. We do that because we want to get the best results out of every work step and we convinced that this is a major factor that defines the look of our works.

-- Why did you become an artist?
Sven: Personally I never intentionally planned to become an artist. As already said I started with graphic design and focused on things I had passion for, in that case character design. I always tried to do what I thought would be the most fun for me. I believe that you only can be good in doing something when you feel a certain love for it. Having now the opportunity of creating sculptural art that mixes with character design is the best thing that ever happened to me. I personally do not care if I am an artist, as long I can go on with sculpting and developing new characters.

--Where does your inspiration come from?
Mark: This question is asked frequently and is also hard to answer though. Personally I think there is no way to say that inspiration comes from any direction. For me it is just not controllable and I think it all depends heavily on the general mood you are in. Also I think it is very important that you are open to discover new things and impressions that enrich your personal experience and broaden your horizon.

--Do you have any artists you admire?
Sven: There are far too many very talented artist our there. I have deep respect for the work of Nintendo video game characters creators Shigeru Miyamoto, Yōichi Kotabe and Shigefumi Hino for example.

--Do you have any collections or characters you like?
Sven: I am not a big collector. Actually I only buy pieces that I think are visual appealing to me or remind me on a certain event, situation or a place I have been. So I think you can call me kind of a souvenir collector. I really like it when the sculptures have a personal story or emotional connection related to them.

-- Do you have any books or movies that inspired/ influenced you?
Sven: Despite the fact that I really enjoy movies and would call myself a movie junkie I cannot say that a certain movie has influenced directly my work as an artist.

-- Do you have anything or anyone that you want to collaborate with in the future?
Mark: We have no plans right now and are very busy with working on our own stuff. But you never know what happens in the future. In general we are open to anything...

-- Where is your favorite place in Japan so far?
Sven: I really like Tokyo, compared with other capital cities of the same size Tokyo is a very calm and relaxed placed and makes it ideal for just going around and explore. And also I have a deep connection to the city of Hiroshima since I studied there for half a year and was introduced to Japanese culture.

-- ..and how was your short trip this time?
Sven: Short but intense! Even during the very limited time we had here in Tokyo so many beautiful memories were popping up in head. For me Japan is a very challenging and fascinating country and I am always surprised about the level of detail and effort Japanese people put into the things they do.

--How has the year of 2014 been for you? You must be very busy since you continuously produce new pieces, have exhibitions in three countries and won three awards at Designer Toy Awards 2014.
Mark: 2014 was really a blast. We had the chance to work on some really interesting projects. We did work for amnesty international and designed specific candle sculptures which were put on auction for charity. Having exhibitions around the world was as fascinating as it was exhausting. We feel really honored to see people around the world having interest in our work.

--What is your next project and future plan?
Mark: Just a few weeks ago we opened our show in Chicago at Rotofugi and introduced some very new storylines and characters. We are looking forward to expanding our ‚Souls Gone Mad‘ storyline with them and also planning to bring the whole thing to a new level by trying to also use a type of media we so far never used before.

--Please give a message to your worldwide fans and viewers who are planning to come to the exhibition.
Mark: First of all we’d like to thank all our fans! Without their support and love all this would not have been possible. Everyone else we would like invite to see our works at the Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo and experience our sculptures on location.