A great piece of news that is sure to please a good number of you: Plapla Pinky are playing at the Villette Sonique festival on Saturday 25th May at 7pm.…
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“Seamoons” robot singers with paper lungs, "Ultra-folk" automatic guitars and "Koi-beat" mechanical rhythm box¸ the creative genius of Maywa Denki outs its efforts into paradoxes: passionate goldworking / off-the-wall public presentations; innovative artistic pretentions/assumed marketing strategy. Like Bruno Munari, Nobumichi Tosa breathes life into his resin and aluminium robots, irresistible and capricious machines, whose vain mechanical beauty are much vaunted by Tosa.
Old Tosa created Maywa Denki in 1969. One of the multitude of small businesses that used their flexibility for the benefit of the major Japanese companies and that formed the basis of Japan’s growth and dynamism during the Sixties. Unfortunately, like many others, Maywa Denki suffered a downturn in fortunes and closed its doors in 1979. In 1993, Mr Tosa’s two rejects, Masamichi and Nobumichi, created the artistic group known as Maywa Denki.
Initially performing in the shopping malls of Tokyo, after a few appearances on television, Maywa Denki become an unmissable artistic machine. They use business words and images to disseminate their work. On the one hand, the uniform reassures the Japanese, but, on the other, the effect produced by a team of blue men wearing caps who struggle to present cranky creations is simply irresistible.
In 2001, there was an internal reorganization : big brother Masamichi, a little cranky, retired at the age of 35. Nobumichi Tosa, the hard-working and applied younger brother, was then, naturally and officially, appointed President of Maywa Denki. In fact, the concept was born out of Nobumichi Tosa’s end of study project. He created a series of instruments of absurd, fish-like design that he presented, wrapped up, to the July. Since then, he has kept his hand on the tiller and steers a course between creative work and public presentations: the Grand-Guignol aspect.
These objects are manufactured in single copies. Doomed to remain prototypes, their usage is very limited, almost nil. Nobumichi Tosa works with gold in his workshop, where he lauds the mechanical beauty of his creations that are the result of fusion between resin and aluminium. Some machines are sometimes reproduced in small production series, simplified and purified versions of the prototypes. A third level of objects is marketed commercially, signature Maywa Denki gadgets: electrical extensions in the shape of a fin, small plastic men who tap their head...
Maywa Denki’s work fall into one of three classifications : Naki, Tsukuba and Edelweiss. Although these series are distinct from each other, there are points of connection between them. Naki is the first series to be developed by Nobumichi Tosa on the theme of Who am I ? 26 objects in the shape of a fish focus on him and his relationship with the world. The Naki series comprises some of Maywa Denki’s emblematic instruments Denki with the Koi-beat, a portable rhythm box in the shape of a carp with incorporated electrical switches, or the famous Pachi-moku, a type of two-tone marimba worn on the back like two metallic wings and played by clicking one’s fingers.
© 2006 text: Franck Stofer, photo: Albane Laure