GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE: wabi-sabi beauty in Tokyo megalopolis

With his works and his project JYU, the artist achieves a balance between nature and city, organic and technical, ancestral and contemporary.
「௵[(вlΔ ©︎61)獣®︎ணπ]ΘFFᎥဧΞ街↑912133群=FΞးဝံ့း᱗ᱡΠ》ஃ────ᏣцΠစௐ」installation by GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE (@gillochindox_gillochindae). Photo: Naoki Takehisa (@takehisanaoki).

GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE (@gillochindox_gillochindae) is an artist whose work is deeply linked to the city of Tokyo in terms of essence and aesthetics. However, it is inspired by the same wabi-sabi spirit with which his ancestors observed nature, in search of imperfect, ephemeral, incomplete beauty.


GCD☆GCD dissects the urban landscape as the living organism that it is, looking at its roots, how it grows, how it is destroyed, and also the beings that inhabit it. In his installations, conceptual pieces, and visual work there are rough and raw materials, but there is also a precision more typical of the digital world or technological products. A love for programming and robotics can also be perceived in his work.


His most ambitious project is JYU (@jyu_raf_arch._). It is an event that combines an art exhibition and music live performances, scheduled to take place annually for seven years based on a story written by the artist himself. In this story that acts as a common thread, the main character is a black beast that represents a young Tokyo citizen.

The JYU art project by GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE has as its common thread the story of a Tokyo citizen. In chapter zero, he kills a black beast. This is the box made for the first exhibition of the project. Design: Heijiro Yagi (@heijiroyagi). Bullet Production: Sen Takahashi (@sen_takahashi).

Chorareii: In your art, I notice an industrial and mechanical inspiration, but I also perceive a wabi-sabi spirit. Is GCD☆GCD an artist of this sort?

GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE: I am. Born and raised in Tokyo, I am inspired by the city: skyscrapers, complex highways, and railroad networks that run between them, and also by the young people living here.

What made you feel wabi-sabi is related to my love of old Japanese art. I’m a Japanese painting major. I like the Buddha statues of Unkei — who is considered one of the greatest Japanese wood sculptors— and the Japanese paintings from before the Edo period. They are dynamic but quiet and have a rough texture.

«I am inspired by the city: skyscrapers, complex highways, and railroad networks that run between them, and also by the young people living here,» explains GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE. Photo: Naoki Takehisa @takehisanaoki.

In this regard, your work has an organic side, but I think your artistic persona has something robotic. Everything you create is very tuned in shape and function; you have designed special alphabets that look like a coded language; you have used a robot as your artist profile photo; even your artist name sounds like a robotic animal! What does the world of robotics bring to your art?  

“A robotic animal” is a good way to express it. I think robots are between machines and animals, and I like the fact that my name comes from “guillotine” but also evokes the idea of an animal. 

When I was little, I used to play with robotic pets, the robot I use as my artist image is one of them. Partly because I was playing with robots, I went to programming classes when I was younger. I learned that even one simple movement of a robot is composed of a combination and arrangement of small parts and programming. Creating an installation by arranging detailed motifs, or even the idea of making my exhibition as part of a bigger project may be based on those learnings from programming class. 

«When I was little, I used to play with robotic pets, the robot I used as my artist image is one of them,» explains GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE. Photo: Naoki Takehisa (@takehisanaoki).

Do you think that robotics can generally contribute to humans?

I don’t think robotics can contribute to humans because it is often said that Japanese people themselves behave like robots —therefore, I myself am a robot. We all have access to the same information, no gender, and are always calm. I hope to contribute to our generation by stopping taking such robotic aspects negatively.

I would like to talk about your project, JYU, where you are the artistic director. This is a series of seven exhibitions scheduled for the next seven years. For me, it is hard to even think about what to do in the next 7 days! How did such an ambitious project come about?

JYU Episode 0 flyer. Design: Heijiro Yagi (@heijiroyagi).

JYU is a story about a black beast divided into seven chapters or episodes. It is a project that includes an exhibition and a live music event for each chapter. It will take place once a year.

This project was born on my desk during the 2020 coronavirus disaster. At the time of the first state of emergency, I stayed in my room for about two months and looked back on what my DNA as an artist was. 

On this stone is engraved JYU chapter 0 in coded characters. Design: Heijiro Yagi (@heijiroyagi) Printing director: @4____9.

I realized that manga, science fiction novels, and movies were my DNA, so I reviewed the works of Osamu Tezuka’s “Phoenix,” Philip K. Dick, and Kubrick. What they all have in common is a story. At first, I came up with the challenge of creating a story using the expression form of an exhibition.

Why is it a long-term project of 7 years? Comics tighten more than half of my DNA. Japanese manga has a one-shot work —episodes are self-concluding— and a long-term serialization. I think the artist’s life is like a long-term serialized work. I thought I had never seen a long-term serialization of an exhibition, and came up with the idea that the exhibition was connected like a serialized manga.

The first edition of JYU was held at BUoY space (@buoy_tokyo). It included a day of live music and an art exhibition. Photo: Taro (@velma960).

Tell me about the seven-chapter story that acts as a common thread for the JYU project. 

A black beast is the main character of JYU. It is modeled on my friend who is a young man living in Tokyo. The life of the beast will be divided into seven chapters. Chapter 0 of JYU depicts a scene where a black beast is shot by a hunter. In fact, Chapter 0 is the middle point of the story, as it is composed as 1 → 2 → 3 → 0 → 4 → 5 → 6 on the time axis of the story. It’s like Star Wars! Next year will be the first chapter of the beast’s childhood, so we will go back to the past.

«A business district full of tall skyscrappers and wide streets. White narrow sky between the buildings and people in clean shirts. Not a trace of rubbish. It’s neither sunny nor cloudy. Neither warm nor cold.

A pitch-black beast’s staring around with its keen eyes in the middle of the street. A hooded, middle-aged hunter is observing silently. He’s watching from a hotel room, far enough away that the beast looks like a tiny black dot.

The hunter slowly raises his gun and sets his sights on the beast. A chill flashed across the beast’s skin. It fled. It ran like a huge moving mass that the stomps were the only noise you can hear.

People on the street looked at you, or it, or him, or them curiously. The scenery is flashing backwards. The hunter looks at the beast quietly with his ocean eyes. It stares back at him.

Its keen met his ocean. There’s a white glow in its eyes. The thunderous roar shakes the ground. The blue gunfire rounds whizzed past the silence like the laser beams, echoes through the buildings.»

JYU by GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE. Chapter 0 -crosswhen-

In this project, you worked closely with the designer Heijiro Yagi (@heijiroyagi). What kind of vision do you both share?

He is an important partner who jumps out of the so-called designer frame. The artists and locations of this project will change from year to year, but he will be the designer for seven years. That is why he creates designs that anticipate future developments. He is not just designing, we also think together. He is an important person for JYU.


At JYU you are not only exhibiting your own art but include other artists as well. What kind of artists fits the project?

For this first chapter, both the exhibiting artist and the live event musicians were about the same age as me because I am looking for imperfect people. If artists are already completed and stable, their new works may be predictable, and that is boring. 

Artists that are incomplete produce unpredictable works. That standard is the foundation, and each chapter of the story has a completely different theme, so I’m looking for artists who fit that. 

JYU also includes a music event. What is your connection to music? What do you want to bring to JYU by including concerts?

I just really like music! I’m always listening to music and I have many friends who are making music. I thought that the exhibition wouldn’t have any movement or explosive heat, and on the contrary, the live performance has explosive power, but the next day everyone will return to their normal lives. I thought that I could compensate for both sides by doing them at the same time.  

«I thought that the exhibition wouldn’t have any movement or explosive heat, and on the contrary, the live performance has explosive power,» says GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE. Photo: Taro (@velma960).

People who would not come to the art exhibition may come to the music live, and that explosive heat will grow in the exhibition itself. Besides that, I think that there is a distance between art and music, and I like both, so I hope I can shorten that distance as much as possible.

Chapter 0 of JYU was held at Kitasenju’s BUoY space (@buoy_tokyo). I had never personally been to an event in this place or in this area of Tokyo. Why did you choose it?

I chose the venue rather than the area. The feeling of ruins over there was perfect for my image.  I also thought that places that people wouldn’t visit often would be fresher. Even if the content is fresh, if it is shown in a place that is often used, it will not be so.

What future projects does GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE have besides JYU?

As a big plan, I am thinking about 2050. I have more than 10 other ideas, and all I have to do is get a chance to execute them or make them on my own.

Follow GILLOCHINDOX ☆ GILLOCHINDAE on Instagram (@gillochindox_gillochindae) and Twitter (@GILLOCHINDOXGCD)

Follow the JYU project on Instagram (@jyu_raf_arch._) and check the website for more information.

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