NGV Triennial

Biole, Carson, Dasha, Marisa,



Tomoaki Suzuki Interview

NGV Triennial features nine works by Tomoaki Suzuki made between 2009 and 2020. The most recent sculpture is Marisa, based on a Canadian citizen living in London. Just before lockdown was imposed in the UK in March 2020, Marisa left in a hurry to join her family in Canada and Suzuki had to finish the sculpture working remotely, with the model posing in front of a computer in Canada and the artist working on the sculpture in front of a screen in Dalston. Over the past two decades, Suzuki has employed a unique approach in creating his hand carved lime wood sculptures. The first stage is the selection of the model. The artist looks for people with a distinctive sense of style, immersed in the present. Once the model is identified, Suzuki takes hundreds of photographs and hours of videos. After that, he begins the process of sculpting the figure out of a piece of wood. This stage usually lasts for several months and involves many sessions from life, with the model posing in front of the artist in the studio. The final stage is the painting of the sculpture to capture the different textures and tones of clothing and skin. The figures are scaled down to one third of the model’s size, and when installed, they are positioned directly on the floor. Suzuki contrasts the traditional technique of carving a figure from life with contemporary fashion styles in a practice he describes as ‘taking photographs through sculpture’.

Tomoaki Suzuki moved from Japan to London in 1998 to study at Goldsmiths College. He is best known for his scaled-down, figurative sculptures, carved in wood and meticulously painted. All of his works are portraits of friends or acquaintances that he meets in his neighbourhood of Dalston, London. Suzuki’s models are always young people who have a distinctive style and who use fashion to express their individuality. The artist’s sculptures are installed directly on the floor, encouraging an intimate interaction by the audience.

Suzuki has exhibited internationally for the past 20 years. Recent solo exhibitions include the Art Institute of Chicago; the CAPC in Bordeaux; Museo de Arte SHCP, Mexico City; and Ushaw Gallery, Durham.

The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Champions Neville & Diana Bertalli, Triennial Major Supporters Christopher Thomas AM & Cheryl Thomas and Triennial Supporters Tim Fairfax AC & Gina Fairfax, Janet Whiting AM & Phil Lukies & Family, Gwenneth Nancy Head Foundation and Lisa Ring as well as donors to the 2020 NGV Annual Appeal for their support.