TOKYO (TR) – “Giant Torayan,” sculptor Kenji Yanobe’s 7.2-meter-tall robot that emits flames from its mouth, is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo until August 2 — a chance for visitors to see this symbol of the challenging and difficult times at present, says curator Hiroko Kato.
With a baby’s face, the aluminum, steel, brass, and Styrofoam creature features an on-command, activation device that differentiates the voices of adults and children, the only people to whom it will respond. “‘Giant Torayan’ dances and sings, just like children,” she explains. “Yet by also spitting flames, it also symbolizes the never ending loop of destruction and creation that exists in our society.”
Yanobe’s works often include robots or other creations of industrial design. In fact, “Giant Torayan” is accompanied by a number of miniature figures in brightly colored protective suits affixed with Geiger counters — ostensibly the life of children in a post-nuclear world.
Yanobe, who has referred to Torayan as “the ultimate child’s weapon,” has had his work appear overseas at art shows in Europe, the United States. Most recently, “Torayan” was on display at “Roppongi Art Night,” a one-day event in March that attempted to “fuse art with the urban landscape” through visual and performance displays.
In spite of being rather apocalyptic in appearance, “Torayan” provides a positive outlook, believes Kato.
“Children signify the future and entail so many possibilities,” the curator says. “Torayan was created to deliver a message of hope to the world.”