On view as a part of IMAYŌ: JAPAN’S NEW TRADITIONISTS at

The Art Gallery at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
October 2 – December 2, 2016
Honolulu Museum of Art
October 13, 2016 – January 8, 2017


MITSUTA Haruo produces metal sculptures of insects, crustaceans, and other “creepy-crawlies” with obsessively detailed and extraordinarily lifelike precision. His inspiration is jizai okimono, a kind of jointed, moveable metal sculpture invented in Japan in the 1700s that emphasizes careful attention to realistic detail. Mitsuta’s importance as an artist, however, does not rely only on his mastery of this traditional technique. Rather than confine his jizai okimono to museum display cases or tearoom tokonoma alcoves (the typical viewing contexts for such objects), Mitsuta creates unique situations for his creations, such as displaying a bronze spider in a web woven of fine golden thread, or placing paired metal centipedes on a pillow in an actual bed, intended to amplify viewers’ feelings of fascination, tension, or even repulsion, in effect reinventing this historical sculptural genre through his strategies of display.

more on MITSUTA

installation of Centipedes at Home, 2016 (detail)
bed, brass, copper
approx. 92 x 215 x 120 cm