Ikeuchi Hiroto exhibition at Sai Gallery in Tokyo

Ikeuchi Hiroto sculpts wearable cyberpunk fantasias from gadgets

Overloaded cyberpunk masks, hulking exoskeletons and other imagined wearable tech feature in an exhibition by artist Ikeuchi Hiroto, who mixes pop culture references and model-making.

Running until 30 January 2022 at Tokyo's Sai Gallery, the Ikeuchi Hiroto exhibition shows several years of the artist's work, which combines readymade plastic models with technological hardware and industrial parts.

The artist draws on the pop culture influences of his childhood – such as Star Wars, Zoids and Gundam – to inspire his creations, as well as model making, a popular hobby in Japan.

Gallery space with a series of cyberpunk masks positioned on plinths
Gadgets, industrial parts and readymade model kits combine in the works of Ikeuchi Hiroto

The result is a series of wearable sculptures that are both futuristic and nostalgic, with a cyberpunk aesthetic.

A key component of the Sai Gallery exhibition is Hiroto's series of headgear, each laden with an intricate assemblage of gadgetry and small parts, including items such as virtual reality masks, headphones and flash drives.

As in all of Hiroto's works, the products buried within the sculptures still function, so a wearer can use them from inside the artwork, giving each piece its own experiential component.

Large exoskeleton-like suit stands in the middle of a white gallery space surrounded by digital artwork on the walls in the Sai Gallery in Tokyo
He has also made full-body suits utilising a similar approach

Unfortunately, this is only available to the buyer of the artwork, as the pieces are too fragile to be handled within the gallery space.

Other works shown at the Sai Gallery include a full-body suit that Hiroto has created together with the body-enhancing robotics company Skeletonics.

There is also a collaboration with the interactive design company Prototype Inc, designers of the "Tekki cockpit", a cockpit-style simulator for the Tekki video game.

For Hiroto's version of the cockpit, titled TYPE00R, he has rebuilt the machine using contemporary technology.

Mannequin in Sai Gallery wearing headwear and prosthetic enhancements by Ikeuchi Hiroto
Hiroto's work has included fashion collaborations with Balenciaga

"The interpretation of his works is dependent on the viewer's unique frame of reference," said Sai Gallery.

"With the combination of internationally recognisable pop imagery and the distinctly Japanese model culture, his works simultaneously evoke a sense of nostalgia, whilst hinting at the near-future through a cyberpunk aesthetic."

The new artworks are exhibited alongside some of Hiroto's earlier pieces to form his largest solo gallery show to date.

Machine and mannequin wearing headgear by Ikeuchi Hiroto on the gallery floor
The exhibition is on display at Sai Gallery in Tokyo until 30 January 2022

The artist began by making dioramas from models and computer components as part of his student work at the Tama Art University's Department of Information Design.

Recently, he collaborated with Balenciaga on its Spring 2022 campaign, for which the models wore Hiroto's headgear and exoskeletons.

The fashion brand is fond of pop culture references, having collaborated with TV show The Simpsons on another campaign and released clothes in the game Fortnite.

Hiroto has also worked with the brands Gentle Monster and Shu Uemura.

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