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Celestial Tentacles : Guardian of the Abyss


Stainless steel polished
39 2/5 × 59 1/10 × 59 1/10 in | 100 × 150 × 150 cm
serie “Infinite Embrace: Spirit of the Deep”

This piece exemplifies Ando’s unique ability to merge traditional Japanese motifs with contemporary art forms, creating a captivating visual experience.

Description of the Artwork
Material and Technique:

The sculpture is crafted from stainless steel, a material known for its durability and modern aesthetic. The use of stainless steel allows for a highly polished finish, giving the piece a reflective, mirror-like surface. This polished effect not only enhances the visual appeal but also invites viewers to see themselves within the artwork, creating an interactive experience.

Design and Structure:

The artwork features a series of tentacles, which are central to its composition. These tentacles emerge from a solid base, twist, and curl in dynamic, fluid movements. The design suggests the tentacles entering the base and reemerging farther away, creating a sense of continuous motion and fluidity. This structural choice symbolizes the adaptability and mysterious nature of the octopus, which can navigate and manipulate its environment with ease.

Symbolism and Themes:

The tentacles, while visually striking, are imbued with deep symbolic meanings. In Japanese culture, the octopus is often associated with mystery, intelligence, and transformation. By featuring these elements, Ando taps into the cultural significance of the octopus, using it as a metaphor for the hidden depths and enigmatic qualities of the ocean, as well as the broader themes of adaptability and change.
The title “Guardian of the Abyss” further emphasizes the protective and enigmatic aspects of the octopus. It suggests a sentinel role, guarding the unknown depths of the sea, which aligns with the traditional view of the octopus as a powerful and mystical creature.

Artistic Context
Integration of Traditional and Modern:

Hiro Ando’s work is known for its fusion of traditional Japanese elements with modern pop culture influences. In this piece, the sleek, polished stainless steel represents modernity and industrial strength, while the form of the tentacles pays homage to traditional Japanese mythology and symbolism.
The reflective surface of the sculpture adds a contemporary touch, making it not only a piece of art but also a statement on the viewer’s interaction with art. The reflections create a dialogue between the artwork and its surroundings, continually changing with the environment and the viewers who engage with it.

Visual Impact:

The visual impact of “Celestial Tentacles: Guardian of the Abyss” lies in its striking combination of form and material. The polished stainless steel catches and reflects light, creating a dynamic interplay of highlights and shadows. This effect enhances the sense of movement and fluidity, making the tentacles appear almost alive.
The twisting, curling forms of the tentacles draw the viewer’s eye, leading them to explore the sculpture from different angles. This encourages a more immersive and engaging experience, as viewers move around the piece to fully appreciate its intricate details and reflective qualities.

“Celestial Tentacles: Guardian of the Abyss” by Hiro Ando is a masterful blend of traditional Japanese symbolism and contemporary artistic techniques. The use of stainless steel with a polished finish not only highlights the fluid and dynamic nature of the tentacles but also creates an interactive experience for viewers. Through this piece, Ando successfully bridges the gap between ancient cultural motifs and modern art, inviting viewers to explore and reflect on the enigmatic qualities of the octopus and the deeper themes it represents.