Toru Otani

Toru Otani was born in 1988 in Kanagawa. He currently lives in Tokyo.

The medium of Toru Otani’s work is found materials. Through internet auctions or random encounters, the artist collects cigarette wrappers, sandpaper, postcards, notebooks, and leaflets, which serve as a canvas for his carefully crafted compositions in colored pencil. Pre-existing graphic elements (logos, indications, or traces of prior use) are concealed or revealed, isolated or connected to form an enigmatic composition, similar to an unsolvable rebus.

A series of elements appear recurrently throughout his work as haunting symbols or archetypes that each time find new media and new strategies to manifest themselves. In Freud’s description of the mechanics of dreams, our latent thoughts are subject to processes of displacement and condensation, taking the form of hieroglyphs to be translated. This perhaps best describes the fascination that Otani’s body of work exerts on us.

His work is represented by XYZ Collective (Tokyo).