While Shinro Ohtake's oeuvre includes drawing, pasted works, painting, sculpture and photography, as well as large-scale assemblage pieces and experimental music and videos, it is his activity of collage that appears to be most characteristic of his artistic expression. Much of his work utilises found objects, images and scraps from urban culture and mass media, often with reference to the underground music culture.
Ohtake began his ongoing series of 'Scrapbooks' in 1977, for which he has become known for and has to date completed more than sixty. Drawing inspiration from the world around him – piecing together journeys, dreams, people, places and diaries in virtually architectural scrapbooks, these artist books examine the inner surface of his layered perceptions. With some over 700 pages, they speak of memories and archeology through the assemblage of objects that are as much sculpture as they are artifacts. These visual cues, recollections, and tangible takeaways from experiences are unified with glue and Ohtake's ferocious, indomitable energy. An extensive presentation of his Scrapbooks was also shown at the 2013 Venice Biennale, as part of the "Encyclopedic Palace".
The artist graduated from the Musashino Art University, Tokyo (1988), and was recently awarded the Cultural Affairs Minister's Award for the Fine Arts 2013-14. His work is in numerous public and private collections including the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Benesse House, Naoshima; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. In 2010, Ohtake completed a site-specific commission for Benesse Art Site Naoshima titled the Naoshima Bath “I♥湯”. He has exhibited worldwide including: Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2015); London Parasol Unit, UK (2014); Venice Biennale, Italy (2013); documenta13, Germany (2012) and Guangzhou Biennale, China (2010).