Haroshi’s King Gorilla Ju

A self-taught artist,
Haroshi's Yumenonko for the T9G MUSEUM '09 exhibition at The Lobby in Tokyo, Japan

Photo: Brandon Shegeta via HUH.

Haroshi has pioneered a unique manner in which to merge his fine art and subcultural aesthetics: he hand carves sculptures out of layered plywood, his raw material strictly coming from abandoned skateboards. With the resulting works inheriting colorful striations from the decorated decks, Haroshi’s pieces tend to be constructed entirely in this manner, as were the pieces in his recent Gozu exhibition (see report here), but sometimes he opts to augment a pre-existing form with wood elements of his own creation. This can be seen, for example, in his contribution to December 2009’s T9G MUSEUM ’09 exhibition at The Lobby Bookstore & Cafe in Tokyo, for which Haroshi carved aspects in his typical style that fit onto Takuji Honda‘s Yumenonko vinyl figure (pictured right). And now he is revisiting this concept for his upcoming Rise Above solo exhibition, teasers revealing him to have employed a similar approach to several vintage vinyl figures, like a Jumbo Machinder: Tetsujin 28-gō, a Tiger Mask: Mister X, and a Ultraman: Alien Baltan, as well as at least one more modern piece: HxSaigansho‘s King Gorilla Ju.

A Brief History of the King Gorilla Ju

To properly understand the King Gorilla Ju, one must begin with the debut of the Gorilla Ju, which launched the Soft Vinyl Monster (ソフトビニールの怪獣) series they are both part of. Continuing his family’s legacy in Japanese vinyl toy production, Yasuaki Hirota revisited one of his father’s toy creations from 1976, the resulting enlarged and refined design being titled Gorilla Ju. First released in October of 2009, this vinyl beast would become a signature piece for Hirota’s company, Hirota Saigansho, which is frequently abbreviated as HxSaigansho or HxS. And the world of the Gorilla Ju would quickly expand, a plethora of variations being introduced in the few short years following.

Haroshi’s King Gorilla Ju Rendition

For his Rise Above exhibition, Haroshi reimagined parts to one of HxSaigansho’s two-headed King Gorilla Ju pieces, specifically one adorned in the coloration of the third released version, known as the Pink Edition (2014). Reinventing one of the beast’s heads and an arm in his signature style, Haroshi’s finished work takes the recognizable form and imbues it with a freshness, creating a unique piece that fills the viewer with a joyfull sense of nostalgia as well as fascinates with its fine artistry. But this isn’t the sole HxSaigansho designed vinyl sculpture that will be modified by Haroshi for his solo exhibition, as a rendition of the Brutal A robot figure has also been teased.
Haroshi’s Rise Above solo exhibition at StolenSpace Gallery will have its opening reception on Thursday, October 5th from 5-9pm. All works in this exhibition will remain on display until October 29th, 2017 at the gallery’s physical location (17 Osborn St, London E1 6TD, UK).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

For more information on Haroshi:
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