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Moving Plants – in the thick of Itadori(Japanese Knot Weed)

Watanabe Koichi

2009.9.1.Tue- 9.26.Sat
12:00-19:00/Tue-Fri 12:00-17:00/Sat closed on Sun and Mon

We are pleased to announce an exhibition titled “Moving Plants – in the thick of itadori(Japanese Knot Weed)” by Koichi Watanabe his first solo show in 4 years.
We think many years pass that everything goes forward and backward easily and globally.
And the speed is getting faster and faster.
Watanabe went to Poland and England and the U.S.A to photograph a weed named itadori, which originated in Japan.
The itadori adapted to the vegetation in each place and spread.
The strength and serenity of itadori couldn’t help making visitors feel surprised and a little awed.
Whenever people move, the plants also move with them.
What is the truth of these changes? What kind of changes are happening to the world?
We think these works are one result of this phenomenon.
This exhibition is sure to make visitors think.

Artist Statement

As I drive along at a tremendous speed, my eyes scan the vegetation. There are lots of weeds growing along the road, but most of them are plants I’ve never seen in Japan. With a certain sense of remoteness, I continue scanning. Then all of a sudden, I am struck by a familiar sensation as a patch of itadori comes into view.

Itadori was first brought to Europe from Japan in the 19th century by the German physician and naturalist Philipp Franz von Siebold. It came to be used as an ornamental plant in gardens, making its way across Europe and North America, and today continues its quiet spread. Forming huge clusters of plants with a height of up to four meters, with its densely crowded leaves, itadori shuts out sunlight, leaving many native plants that live closer to the ground on the edge of extinction and destroying the ecological balance of the area. Thus, the places where the plant thrives are filled with an air of disquiet.

Getting out of my car and heading down the path, I approach the cluster of itadori. Surrounded by these tall plants, I lose all sense of where I am and how much time has passed. Gradually, I am seized by the illusion of being in a tussock near my own home. When I finish taking pictures and head back the way I came, I am once again reminded that this is not Japan.

Tracing the path of itadori, I try to ascertain what is there between the plants. Not merely the elements that have been altered, but the various emotions that have been exchanged between human beings and itadori that are now woven into the space. My works then are an act of attempting to interpret the textures that have been created by people and this singular plant.

Watanabe Koichi


1967 Born in Osaka
1986-1990 Graduated from the department of literature, psychology course Osaka City University
1999-2000 Graduated from photography course of Inter Medium Institute, Osaka


2023 The 23th Sagamihara Photo Award

Solo Exhibitions

2023 The 23th Photo City Sagamihara Exhibition. Sagamihara cibic gallery, Sagamihara, Japan
2022 Contrayerba in dreaming – detox plants-history. The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan
Contrayerba in dreaming – detox plants-history. Kanzan Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2018 Moving Plants. SHISEIDO GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan
2017 Moving Plants. GALLERY 722, Okayama, Japan
2016 Moving Plants. KanZan Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2015 Moving Plants. The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan
2010 Moving Plants. The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan
2008 Moving Plants – in the thick of itadori. The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan
2005 The name of grassland -unknown islands where itadori grows. The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan
2003 grassland. The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan

Group Exhibitions

2021 ART OSAKA 2021. Osaka City Central Public Hall, Osaka, Japan
2018 daikanyama photo fair 2018. Daikanyama Hilside Forum; Hillside Plaza, Tokyo, Japan
ART in PARK HOTEL TOKYO 2018. Park Hotel Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
2017 Moving Plants. RØNNEBÆKSHOLM, Næstved, Denmark
2015 ART OSAKA 2015. HOTEL GRANVIA OSAKA, Osaka, Japan
2012 Quiet Boyes. MIO PHOTO OSAKA, Osaka, Japan
2010 Art Fair Tokyo 2010. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan
2008 Comical & Cynical. Gallery Jijihyang, Paju, Korea
2000 Comical & Cynical. Dawn Center, Osaka, Japan
2000 From the Garden. The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan
2000 phantome. SUMISO, Osaka, Japan


2022 Contrayerba in dreaming – detox plants-history. Kyoto: Seigensha
2015 Moving Plants. Kyoto: Seigensha
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