Kenji Yanobe «Pods» 1996.

Emergency Espace Pod (Yellow), 1996,

Atomic-powered cyborgs and other absurd and fabulous contraptions populate the universe of Kenji Yanobe. Welcome to the world of the future-past, the unkempt aftermath of Better Living Through Science. It was back in the early 1990s when Kenji Yanobe, along with Taro Chiezo and later Mariko Mori, established himself as one of Japan's hottest Futurama artists. While most bubble era art-yen was invested in the work of dead Impressionists, a trickle of funding did make into the contemporary market, and this engendered a brat pack of young art stars.

Emergency Escape Pod (White), 1996.

Situating his work within the toxic environment of much science fiction, Yanobe employs themes and forms from futuristic media to address the central paradox of technology: its boundless potential and unbridled danger.

Survival System Train, 1996

His ingenious objects evoke very powerful emotions, including the basic instincts for food, shelter, and procreation.

«My family house is close to the ruins of Expo 1970 Osaka, which was the big exposition put on during the period of Japanese economic growth. I used to play in the ruins of the Expo, with its destroyed robots, strange scientific pavilions, and spacey sculptures. The huge hall was deserted. I became interested in the image of ruins after a big futuristic catastrophe.» ~ Kenji Yanobe

Tanking Machine, 1990
physiological solution of sodium chloride, steel, propane gas.

Yanobe constructs devices he needs now or may need in the future out of industrial detritus and scavenged materials: Tanking Machine offers serenity in a safe haven not unlike Tokyo's notorious capsule hotels; Foot Soldier (Godzilla) functions as a personal combat vehicle; Yellow Suit and Radiation Suits protect their wearers from nuclear disaster, monitoring radiation exposure at sensitive points of the body; Survival System Train and the Emergency Escape Pods provide shelter equipped with life's "essentials"--food, water, and manga. Through this work Yanobe ironically envisions the need for extreme solutions, hoping another message emerges. His sheer delight in gadgets and machinery demonstrates unequivocally the parallel need for their moderation and control. ~ Elizabeth A. Brown, Chief Curator, The University Art Museum University of California at Santa Barbara.