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Japanese duo toys with art

Update: February, 20/2012 - 10:00

 

Eye-catching: A visitor enjoys The Plastic Model of Paramodel Is Paramodel display. The works by Paramodel encourage visitors to use their imaginations. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tung
HA NOI — "Wow, I feel like I'm in a spaceship, looking down to the earth," second-grader Le Dang Minh Kim happily yelled with his classmates who were enjoying a look at an art installation at an-ongoing display in Ha Noi.

Primarily made up of pieces from the Plarail – a very popular toy train and track system in Japan since the 1950s, the display, entitled The Plastic Model of Paramodel Is Paramodel, has attracted visitors with its eye-catching installations.

Created by Hayashi Yasuhiko, one of two artists who make up the Japanese unit Paramodel, the magical art environment of the exhibition carries a message about life: There is a close connection between everyone and everything.

"The connections are being presented by the linking track system. However, how people interpret the installations is all up to the imagination of individual visitors," he said.

Installations by Paramodel always feature local elements of wherever the exhibit is being held.

To find ideas for the Ha Noi exhibit, Hayashi spent two weeks learning about the city.

"I walked around the streets and let my eyes capture everything that makes up Ha Noi. I want all of my/our works to present the spirit of life," he said.

To add a taste of Ha Noi, Vietnamese toys were used as elements of the works in addition to the blue Plarail track.

"I guess the artist is looking at the development of Ha Noi, as he has trucks, cranes and bricks in his work," said young visitor Thuy Linh in interpretation of the artwork's meaning.

Like most children in Japan, Hayashi has been fascinated by Plarail since he was a little boy. Decades later, the Plarail is no longer simply a game but a medium for creativity. Hayashi and Nakano Yusuke formed Paramodel in 2001, using the blue Plarail tracks among other items for their art works and installations.

Their title is essentially a manifesto, fusing the words "paradise", "paradox", and "model".

Paramodel's artworks are fun and eye-catching, inviting viewers to look back into their childhood. Through elaborate combinations of plastic toys and other everyday objects, they attempt to create blueprints of paradise whilst underscoring life's paradoxes. Their expansive artworks range from massive, installations that take up entire rooms to mini-sculptures, with videos, drawings, photography and other media in between.

They have displayed their unique artworks in Indonesia, Singapore, China, Australia and Switzerland.

Hayashi shared his interest in the blue Plarail tracks with students at the Ha Noi Fine Arts College last Friday during a discussion, where the attendees joined him in play time with the toys.

The Plastic Model of Paramodel Is Paramodel will run until March 11 at the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange, 27 Quang Trung Street, Ha Noi. — VNS

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