Behemothian orbs hovering above landfills are more than a recurrent sight in the works of Japanese artist Masakatsu Sashie; they’re the singular subject matter of his art. Since 1996, he has shown these mysterious spheres in countless paintings and sculptures. Its symbolism, however, remains the same, rooted in concepts of havoc and time. “The orbs represent humanity—they represent us,” he says.
悬浮于垃圾填埋场上空的巨型球体是日本艺术家 Masakatsu Sashie（指江昌克）作品中最常见的元素；更准确地说，这是他的艺术作品唯一的主题。从 1996 年以来，他在无数幅绘画和雕塑作品中展示了各式各样的神秘球体，其象征意义也始终如一，讲述地球浩劫与时间变迁的概念。“这些球体代表着人类——也就是我们自己。”他解释道。
The large three-dimensional globes dominate his paintings, an intrusive object that feels utterly out of place. They’re assemblages of man-made components, such as televisions, vending machines, and advertising signs, elements that appear old and unsightly, unwanted trash that belong in landfills absorbed by some sort of otherworldly energy to form the orb.
In the background, under polluted skies, a gloomy Tokyo skyline is often present, recognizable by iconic landmarks such as the Tokyo Tower and the Sky Tree. There’s a conspicuous absence of natural elements in his paintings. Not even Mount Fuji, commonly seen in depictions of Tokyo’s skyline, makes an appearance.
Only in rare instances are organic life forms shown in his works, such as a lone mouse gazing up at the ominous globe hovering overhead. Still, there’s a constant allusion to human existence just outside of the frame—the rubbish and debris of his work, seemingly a critique of modern consumption habits and wasteful practices.
The concept of time is another prevalent theme in Sashie’s art. “The landfills are full of man-made objects, representing the accumulation of time,” he says. The notion of time is also expressed by the juxtaposition between dated objects, alluding to the past and the city’s modern skyline, indicating the present, while the post-apocalyptic settings seem to be his prophecies of the future.
时间概念是 Masakatsu 作品的另一个常见主题。“垃圾填埋场里充斥着各种人造物品，寓意着时间的累积。”他说道。此外，过时的物体与现代化的城市天际线并列在一起，暗指过去与现在，而世界末日般的环境仿佛是他对于人类未来的预言。
Sashie often includes logos of Japanese and American corporations in his paintings. Notably, in one of his few pictures without an orb, Sashie depicts a fleet of warships that—similar to his planet-like orbs—mash together familiar signs and structures, but instead of trash, American fast-food chains, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, have been melded together. The fleet maneuvers through a sea of waste, flying the flag of global consumerism, as if on its way to conquer other lands.
Masakatsu 经常在画中描绘一些日本和美国企业的标志。值得注意的是，在他为数不多没有球体的作品中，Masakatsu 描绘了一支战舰队伍，将各种人们熟悉的品牌标志和招牌糅合在一起，包括美国快餐连锁品牌，如麦当劳和星巴克。这支舰队带着全球消费主义的旗帜，飞过一片垃圾的海洋，仿佛正要前往征服其他地域。
His musings on humanity and time started in his hometown, Kanazawa. “Kanazawa is like a miniature garden, where the obsolete and the modern coexist,” he says. “Because of its distance from other urban centers, there’s a sense of isolation that allowed me to consider the tide of times.” Sashie was also drawn to the art of bonsai and dioramas from a young age and, today, his art appears as his own miniature world of sorts. “I start my creations by making a story; it’s like creating a world.”
Sashie asserts that his works are impartial, in that they’re neither negative nor positive outlooks. But the paintings speak for themselves, and like crystal balls, his orbs give a glimpse of a possible future, however frightening it may be, warning us of the risks of rampant consumerism and neglectful waste. “I’m glad if my works serve as a clue for the viewer to start thinking about how they see the future,” he says.
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Contributors: Tomas Pinheiro, Lucas Tinoco
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
供稿人: Tomas Pinheiro, Lucas Tinoco
英译中: Olivia Li