Aki Inomata, ‘Why Not Hand Over a "Shelter" to Hermit Crabs? The Temple of Heaven, Beijing’, 2014, Japan Society Benefit Auction 2017
Aki Inomata, ‘Why Not Hand Over a "Shelter" to Hermit Crabs? The Temple of Heaven, Beijing’, 2014, Japan Society Benefit Auction 2017

Case: 11 x 7 7/8 x 7 7/8 in.

Courtesy of the artist and Maho Kubota Gallery

A Tokyo-based artist, Aki Inomata was a 2017 recipient of an NYC artist residency grant from the Asian Cultural Council. Her work is primarily concerned with the politics of identity. In her series Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? (2009–present), Inomata creates 3D-printed shells for hermit crabs based on CT scans of sea shells. While the interior of these shells are identical to natural shells collected by the artist, the exteriors are adorned with major landmarks and skylines from metropoles all over the world. By allowing the crabs to physically transform and traverse “national” boundaries as they move from shell to shell, Inomata is able to investigate concepts of immutable personal identity or nationality. Playing on the Japanese term for hermit crab yadokari, literally translated to “somebody living in a temporary dwelling,” Inomata’s series questions the connection between identity and place. This shell features the UNESCO World Heritage site the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China, which fittingly changed hands numerous times between different Chinese dynasties and the Anglo-French alliance during the Second Opium War. (Acrylic case and uplit pedestal included; hermit crab not included.)
Courtesy of Japan Society

AKI INOMATA’s work includes many collaborations with animals. Her Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? series, in which she gives hermit crabs shells made with a 3D printer, brings to mind migrants, refugees, and their ability to swap nationalities. For I Wear the Dog’s Hair, and the Dog Wears My Hair, she makes herself a cape out of her dog’s hair and a smaller cape out of her own hair. Wearing the dog hair cape, the artist has the dog wear the cape made from her hair so that they are wearing each other’s coats.

Her recent exhibitions include “KENPOKU ART 2016” 6 cities in the northern Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan(2016), “Coming of Age” Sector 2337, Chicago (2017), “KENPOKU ART 2016” 6 cities in the northern Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan(2016), “ECO EXPANDED CITY 2016” WRO Art Center, Poland, Wroclaw (2016).
Courtesy of the artist

Signature: Signed with a certificate of authenticity included

About Aki Inomata

Japanese, b. 1983, Tokyo, Japan, based in Tokyo, Japan