Rintaro Hara (b. 1973) studied in Tokyo and the Netherlands and has been exhibiting since the late 1990s. His playful installations often involve themes from traditional Japanese storytelling but also draw on contemporary culture and sometimes include complex mechanical constructions.
Hara’s work is unusual in that he frequently seeks to embody aspects of science fiction, films, and computer games so that the boundaries between reality and the virtual world become fluid and indistinct. He represents the virtual as real and the real as virtual. Several installations feature repeating mobile machines, water moving about in pipes, balls rolling along nylon pathways through the exhibition space, or endlessly reeling, multi-coloured belts. These installations function almost as tools for meditation—a post-industrial take on Japan’s ancient culture of Zen Buddhism. A similar transposition can be seen in a book created by Hara and his wife, Yu Hara. They had old tales machine-translated from the original Japanese to English, then re-translated back again, and then they illustrated these transformed stories. The picture book can be seen as a wider commentary on the cultural transformations resulting from Japan’s engagement with the computer age.
Hara has had solo exhibitions at AYUMI GALLERY in Tokyo, Wi-CANP in Chiba, the Plus Minus Gallery in Tokyo, Effenaar, in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and SBK in Amsterdam.