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Portland Japanese Garden to Debut Exhibition from Leading Contemporary Japanese Artist, Takahiro Iwasaki

PORTLAND, Ore. – September 18, 2023 – Portland Japanese Garden is excited to debut its latest art exhibition, Takahiro Iwasaki: Nature of Perception, starting September 24. Nature of Perception features the work of Japan Institute Artist-in-Residence, Takahiro Iwasaki. Considered one of Japan’s leading contemporary artists, the Hiroshima-based Iwasaki gained worldwide recognition when he represented Japan at the 2017 Venice Biennale, a highly regarded international cultural exposition often described as the Olympics of the art world. His work has been praised as “exquisite” by The New York Times, which noted Iwasaki has “a lacemaker’s hand, a jeweler’s eye and a shopper’s instinct for cool materials.”

Japan Institute Artist-in-Residence Takahiro Iwasaki. Photo by Nina Johnson.

Known for his Reflection Model series, Iwasaki creates architecturally accurate models of historic Japanese sites, transforming them into immersive installations, where his sculptures are suspended off the floor with an inverted duplicate model assembled underneath. Simultaneously beautiful and awe-inspiring, each Reflection Model enchants, yet also gives the viewer pause to contemplate the nature of the built environment, human ingenuity, and what it means for it all to be turned upside down. A work he has created in his studio based on Japan’s famed Rashomon gate will be on display in Portland Japanese Garden’s Pavilion Gallery.

Reflection Model (Rashomon) by Takahiro Iwasaki, 2023. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

In addition to his larger-scale architectural sculptures, Takahiro Iwasaki is also recognized for taking mundane, manufactured objects from daily life—duct tape, pencils, toothbrushes, towels—and transforming them into miniscule versions of familiar landmarks that suggest his surroundings. Iwasaki will use materials he gathers in Portland during his residency to create art that will be displayed in Portland Japanese Garden’s Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Gallery.

Arlene Schnitzer Portland Japanese Garden Curator of Culture, Art, and Education Aki Nakanishi (l) and Japan Institute Artist-in-Residence Takahiro Iwasaki. Photo by Nina Johnson.

Takahiro Iwasaki: Nature of Perception opens Sunday, September 24 and runs through Monday, December 4 and is included in admission to Portland Japanese Garden. Iwasaki’s residency was generously supported by Japan Foundation and Willamette University. Additional support was provided by ANOMALY. 

Tectonic Model (Paul Anderer, Kurosawa’s Rashomon) by Takahiro Iwasaki, 2023. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

More Information on Takahiro Iwasaki:

New Art Exhibition Turns Human Ingenuity Upside Down

New Perspectives Found in Reflection: Japan Institute Artist-in-Residence Takahiro Iwasaki on His New Exhibition

Hours and Admission:

Tour the Exhibition Online:

Visual Assets:

Images can be found in this Dropbox folder. Credit is in the file name.

Media Contact

Will Lerner | Communications Specialist | (503) 542-9351 |

About Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden is a nonprofit organization founded in 1963 as a place for cross-cultural understanding following World War II. A hallmark in the City of Portland and the state of Oregon, the Garden was founded on the ideals of peace and mutual understanding between peoples and cultures. Portland Japanese Garden is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan and among the foremost Japanese cultural organizations in the world.  

About Japan Institute

Japan Institute was established in 2022 as a global cultural initiative of Portland Japanese Garden. This sibling organization is the programmatic arm of Portland Japanese Garden, allowing us to share and expand our cultural programs more broadly around the world, deepen international partnerships, and continue to engage diverse people in shared experiences and conversations about peace, beauty, and connection of nature. Japan Institute consists of three centers: Global Center for Culture and Art, International Exchange Forum, and International Japanese Garden Training Center. 

Portland Japanese Garden and Japan Institute share the mission: 

Inspiring Harmony & Peace