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Masao Kinoshita’s Exaggerated Muscle Sculpture Series Is Truly Awesome

Talented Japanese Sculptor Masao Kinoshita has diverse skill in a variety of media — wood, clay, plaster, bronze, stone. His works take an interest in the extreme physical features of the human anatomy and add to these features with fantastical details culled from folklore, mythology and religion.

A prominent series in Konishita’s body of work is his muscle sculpture series, which exposes what lies beneath a creature’s skin. Much like the “Bodies” exhibit that toured across American museums, the sculpture series displays the intricacies of our flesh.

Kinoshita goes beyond straightforward human or animal subjects, presenting multiple-limbed creatures (like his interpretation of the Hindu deity Ganesh) contorted in various poses, flexing for the audience like body builders at a pageant. Some of his works keep the skin intact, like his yoga sculptures, which conjure up impossible achievements of flexibility and strength.

The yoga sculptures take inspiration from centuries-old Southeast Asian art from the region where the now-widespread practice first evolved. Our musculature makes existence as we know it possible, but Kinoshita thinks beyond the limitations of the body to create finely-tuned works that alienate us from what we often take for granted.

An earlier version of this article had a typo that has since been corrected

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