Art & Design

Street style meets art at Towner
Tomoaki Suzuki solo exhibition

11 December 2010 - 6 March 2011, Eastbourne

11 December 2010 – 6 March 2011
Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm
Free admission


Tomoaki Suzuki’s figurative sculptures are extraordinarily lifelike.  His subjects are real people with distinctive street styles all their own, which Suzuki faithfully recreates by fusing contemporary iconography with traditional Japanese wood carving.  This exhibition at the award-winning new Towner in Eastbourne is his first solo show in a UK public gallery.


Hand crafted in lime wood, the figures stand one third human scale, their resemblance to the models he works from uncanny.  Suzuki challenges conventional methods of displaying figurative sculpture by placing his statuettes directly on the floor, rather than on a plinth.  The scale of his work recalls childhood toys, requiring the viewer to physically get down onto the gallery floor in order to connect with each figure at eye level. 


Suzuki is inspired by consumerism, fashion and youth culture.  The eclectic mix of cultures he encounters each day on the street when he steps outside of his studio in Hackney are strongly reflected in his work.  His subjects are real people with iconic street styles; they are neither contrived nor composites of multiple characters, and the model chooses their own outfit from clothes that they would normally wear.


Suzuki is intrigued by street fashion and strives to capture the style of the time in his sculptures.  Each work is synonymous with the fashion of the moment.  He is fascinated by trends in western consumerism, particularly footwear – for example, the way trainers evolved as a signature of street fashion in the 1990s.  His works reference trends in fashion and are often a comment on patterns of consumerism, whether portraying chain store / disposable fashion, customised trainers or vintage / recycled clothing.


Matthew Rowe, Artistic Director of Towner, said “The craftsmanship evident in Suzuki’s sculpture is striking, and the theme of contemporary culture makes his work relevant to all.  We are excited to be working with such an accomplished young artist whose practice reflects today’s street culture and exemplifies art that is based in the everyday, resulting in an exhibition that holds up a mirror to our daily existence, breaking down the perceived barriers between art and life.  The play with scale will showcase our Exhibition Gallery, one of the largest display spaces in the region, in a new and surprising way once again.”

11 December - 6 March 2011

Towner, the contemporary art museum, Devonshire park, College Rd, Eastborne, BN21 4JJ

Tel: 01323 434670