Japanese artist’s face masks and wearables give off futuristic, dystopian world vibes

Artist Ikeuchi Hiroto was obsessed with pop culture influences right from his childhood. The cinematic world of the Star Wars, the imaginary robotic animals of Zoids, or the intimidating form of the Gundam. In his early childhood days, Ikeuchi started crafting pieces out of PC parts and models. Later on, when he got hang of things, he graduated to more refined gadgets and mech gear creations to express his cyberpunk love. The artist started using industrial parts and repurposing ready-made plastic to achieve the form for his creations.

Recently the funk-obsessed artist joined forces with Balenciaga to create cyborg creations under the SS 2022 campaign. His largest-ever solo work exhibiting a wide range of high-tech mechanical masks is currently on display in an exhibition in Tokyo.  These masks transform the wearer into a cyborg of sorts, giving them an alienated appearance reminiscent of a future dystopian world. His work mostly employs recycled materials like motherboards and old plastic wiring. The reason is, as he explains, “It’s just that recent products are simple and small, and their parts don’t give me much room for customization, so old products allow me to use more parts for my work.”

The solo exhibition is showcasing the custom mechanical masks, VR headsets, wearable exoskeleton developed by Skeletonics (robotics company), and interactive works developed in collaboration with Prototype Inc. (a design firm). His exoskeletons are the perfect blend between fashion, art and tech – virtually blurring the lines between them all. Working with the icons of the fashion industry, Ikeuchi gave his opinion by saying, “I think it’s great that someone is redefining my work in their own subjective way, just like I use ready-made products in my own contexts.”

The wearables sculptures here are highlighted by the series of headgear having intricate gadgets such as reality masks, headphones and flashdrives. All of the creations function lending each one of them an experimental aesthetic. That privilege is reserved for the buyers of the artwork!

Designer: Ikeuchi Hiroto