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Japanese performance artist stages “Bread Man” flashmob in Hiroshima

Have you ever wondered why there aren’t more bread-themed flashmobs?

Neither have I, but if you are curious about it you may want to check out the work of Japanese performance artist Tatsumi Orimoto.

Last month, Orimoto staged another one of his famous “Bread Man” performances in Hiroshima, Japan.

Spoon & Tamago, a site dedicated to Japanese art, design and culture, reports that a group of about 36 people with baguettes wrapped around their faces toured the city chanting “We are Bread Men, we are not human in Japanese and English.

This wasn’t Orimoto’s first rodeo.

According to a 2001 profile on Orimoto, he first came up with the idea for “Bread Man” in the 1990s.

“I was looking for my style,” Orimoto told The Guardian. He then explained that a Christian friend had told him that in the Bible “bread means body”, which gave him the idea.

“If Marcel Duchamp could call a toilet a fountain, then bread means not food: it is sculpture,” he concluded. So let’s think of it as a living sculpture with Biblical allusions and maybe a dash of anti-consumerism and something about poverty. Happy now art nerds?

Since the 1990s then Orimito has performed “Bread Man” over 200 times in countries such as America, Turkey, Nepal, Germany, England and Russia.

“Bread Man” isn’t always well received. Orimoto told The Guardian that he was chased by homeless people in New York, kicked out of a restaurant in Moscow for wasting food, laughed at in London and is seen as “dirty or dangerous” most of the time he performs it in Japan.

Despite these negative experiences and the fact that he is pretty tired of holding bread on his head, Orimoto says he will keep doing “Bread Man” until he dies. Now that’s dedication.

duchamp fountain

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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