Drawing on ideas of collectability and fantasy, Japanese artist Hiro Ando
tradition with contemporary culture in his sculpture work. Ando began as an
illustrator in Tokyo and has since gone on to work in oil painting, video, and
sculpture. He is co-founder of CrazyNoodles, a collective studio of several
artists spread between Tokyo, Paris, and Beijing, who share a youthful Pop
aesthetic steeped in manga and Japanese contemporary culture. They communicate
with recognizable, appealing themes, striving to create art that is accessible,
rather than high-minded or obscure. The collective’s website declares their
vision to employ a “plastic language.”
Ando’s editioned sculptures resemble enlarged toy cartoon
characters and bear the names SumoCat, Samurai Cat, UrbanCat, and RobotCat.
They’re mainly monochrome and glossy, a few are enrobed in rhinestones or
hand-painted. Ando’s work is the creative fruit of Japanese mass culture. His
cat figures are reminiscent of maneki-neko (literally, “beckoning cat”),
a ubiquitous Japanese cultural icon symbolizing good luck; maneki-neko
figurines can be found in nearly every souvenir store and restaurant in Japan.
Ando’s cats also resemble a masculine version of Hello Kitty, another
emblematic feline character that originated in Japan.
Ando’s work shares the neo-pop spirit of Jeff Koons
dog figurines and Takashi Murakami
sculptures, though Ando’s sculptures do not convey the overt eroticism and
darkness that much of Koons’ and Murakami’s work do. Ando expresses a lighter
side of neo-pop, highlighting that contemporary art can be both fun and have