金工藝家金森正起的房間如同Cabinet of curiosities，十多平方米的空間，四面牆與地上都堆滿了書及他自日本各地搜來的「珍品」，餘下的空間，只剛好夠他舖上被舖。他不少藏品都教人摸不著頭腦——昭和時代火車便當用來盛湯汁的即棄陶壼、自建築工地撿來上的水泥塊、壓偏了的塑膠娃娃、用紙條編成的小孩衣服……43歲的他，常被說像個大孩子，眼睛骨碌骨碌，任何事物在他看來都新奇有趣。從今個月開始，我們請他每個月分享他一件藏品，同時探看這些摸不著頭腦的怪東西，如何化作養分，成就他看似冷靜卻滿載童趣的創作風格。
Entering the room of the metal artist Masaki Kanamori was like entering a cabinet of curiosities. The less than 20 square meters room was lined with walls of books and collectables he obtained from all around Japan. Since the shelves were not enough to contain his massive collections, some of them were piled up on the floor, leaving only enough space to unfold his futon. As an outsider, it could be rather difficult to understand the “value” of his collectables. For instance, the collection includes a Showa-period disposable clay jar that used to be placed inside of the train bento box to contain sauce, a concrete brick he picked from a construction site, a deformed plastic doll, a piece of children garment made from paper, etc. Many would call Kanamori a kidult; at the age of 43, he can still see things from a child perspective and discover their fascinating aspects. From this month on, we will have Kanamori to introduce to us one of his collections every month. Through his sharing, we will get to know how these weird things that no one understands can become the inspiration to his subtle yet whimsically creative style of art.
R: Ron Lam，M: Masaki Kanamori
M：應該也會感動吧，但性質有點不同。例如Umeko Katou的作品（註：Umeko Katou是以紙為媒介的藝術家，親自造紙，並在上面作畫，作品難以介定為平面作品或是紙雕），她很成功地去除了自己過於精湛的作畫技術，作品看來非常單純，有種拙劣的美感。若這槍形玩具，真的是出自現代藝術家之手，該藝術家的創作姿態，可能跟Umeko Katou相近。不過，怎樣說呢？這塑膠玩具之所以吸引我，該是它偶然而成的美感吧。
R: When we were in a vintage shop the other day, you were fascinated by a squashed dog toy with a face that was completely deformed. Later on, you also bought all these dusty old gun-shaped toys. Why are you so attracted to the disfigured plastic toys?
M: Because they are rare, perhaps. The material becomes unrecognizable because of degradation. The new texture is absolutely intriguing. Don’t you think they appear like sculptures? I think they would not look awkward even in a contemporary art museum.
R: Would you be equally impressed if they were not second-hand items but made by some contemporary artists?
M: I guess I would still be impressed, however, in a different way. Umeko Katou* is a good example. She successfully eliminates her talented drawing skills to make some pure and straightforward drawings. Her art has a sense of clumsy aesthetics. If this gun-shaped toy was made by a contemporary artist, I believe the artist must have a creative style similar to Umeko Katou’s. I’m not sure how to explain, but I was captivated by the plastic toy because of its unexpected beauty.
R: This toy and the plastic dog were probably both abandoned by their owners?
M: There is a high chance.
R: Looking at the condition, perhaps the former owners didn’t care so much about them.
M: Perhaps. It was probably sunshine and humidity that have caused their deformation. In any case, they obtained these amusing appearances by chance.
R: The typical vintage and antique shop would probably refuse to take plastic objects?
M: True. Plastic is a contemporary material, it makes a lot of sense that it is not considered antique. Antique shop owners would not recognize their value and worth.
R: In recent years, I start to see plastic products in some second-hand shops in Japan. What has driven people to appreciate these trash-like items?
M: I guess the group of people you’re referring to is relatively small. But what is the reason? I’ve been thinking about this question myself as well. I assume there is always a group of young people who are into this kind of things. In the Japanese language, there is a concept called 貧乏趣味. It means having an interest that doesn’t cost much or to be interested in things that look cheap. In recent years, there are more young people opening their own second-hand shops, which have provided space to realize their so-called “cheap interest”.
R: Now you talked about it, I remember you also have a habit of picking up random things from the streets. On your shelf there is a concrete block that you picked up from a construction site, do you have other examples?
M: For example some rusty things and wooden sticks with an unusual shape. It is easier to discover them when living in the countryside, but I think they can be found in the city if you pay enough attention when taking a stroll.
R: Have you ever picked up something that gave you an urge to reproduce it yourself?
M: Hmm… they all have randomly formed appearance, shape, and charisma, which are beyond my imagination. Although I have never intended to replicate these items, I really hope to create objects that carry unexpected charm as they do.
*Umeko Katou is a paper artist who makes her own paper on which she draws her works. It is difficult to define whether her works are graphic design or paper sculpture.