Masahide Matsuda’s Outdoor Olympic Rings Sculpture Is Bittersweet

Matsuda’s Outdoor Olympic Rings Sculpture Sinks Until September 5th

On the opening day of the Tokyo Olympic Games, an outdoor sculpture entitled “Ripples” was presented by Japanese artist Masahide Matsuda showcasing a submerged installation of the Olympic rings at the “Mihama-EN” Japanese garden adjacent to “Makuhari Messe”, one of the Olympic stadiums.

There was definitely some initial controversy for the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics held this year in Tokyo, Japan, although it was eventually embraced by the host’s citizens. The amount of time required to plan, the infrastructures to build, and the budget to spend were all concerns as public opinion polls in Japan showed that citizens were remarkably against holding the Olympic Games in their country.

With this is mind, Matsuda designed a piece to reflect the divided feeling of his country thus creating a sculpture that contains the five iconic Olympic rings beautifully illuminated, yet only two and a half of the rings are visible. The rings are tilted vertically with the bottom half portion submerged in a pond of water. A “symbol of our times” stated Matsuda. At first glance, the installation looks somber like a sinking ship. With a second look, the sculpture can become visibly whole through the reflection from the water. Clever!

Matsuda is an artist who conceptualizes the anonymity, economy and landscape of our time and age of social media. His creation of “Ripples” was inspired by Japanese poet Matsuo Basho’s classic haiku, “The ancient pond.” Matsuda’s work is a metaphor for today’s world, in which “truth is embedded in privacy,” while the truth we seek in the media is increasingly eroding.

Born in 1986 in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Matsuda now resides in Berlin. He started his career as an anonymous artist and has now become a mid-career contemporary artist known for his events and performances via Twitter. One of his greatest accolades came in 2016 where he won the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction.

The sculpture will be on exhibit until the Olympic closing ceremony on August 8, following which it will tour through Tokyo’s various galleries until September 5th, the Paralympics closing ceremony.

Related Articles