Claim to Fame
Defying death with art!
Born in Nagoya, Japan, in 1936, internationally acclaimed and multi-award-winning artist Shusaku Arakawa was full of complexity and unexpected moves. He first studied mathematics and medicine in Tokyo before attending Musashino Art University and joining a Neo-Dadaism group with other emerging artists.
Arakawa enrolled at Brooklyn Museum Art School and created unique pencil-on-canvas and ink-on-photograph drawings and works. When he met fellow artist Madeline Gins, the creativity exploded! Together, they collaborated to create art, architecture, and works that defied boundaries and were designed to “reverse destiny” by challenging how you interact with your environment.
Their goal? To use the potential of art to stop us from ageing.
They co-authored books on ‘Reversible Destiny’ and began designing the homes and parks they’re most famous for, like the Reversible Destiny Lofts in memory of Helen Keller, the famous Bioscleave House in New York, and the Site of Reversible Destiny in Gifu, Japan. What was so innovative (odd!) and creative about their architecture was the way they defy our perception of stability, making us work harder to understand our space. They believed working our brain will keep us young.
The architectural projects that grew from this philosophy were to be the focus of international exhibitions, including at the Guggenheim Museum SoHo. Arakawa won the College Art Association’s Exhibition of the Year award when young and was later awarded Japan’s Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon in 2003 in recognition of his accomplishments.
With exhibitions in museums around the world, he remains an inspiring figure and one of Japan’s most famous export.
Why we Love Him
Arakawa wanted to break us out of our routine and be open to new experiences, and by exposing himself to new challenges in the West, he produced some incredible art, books, and architecture!