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Spinning Crocodiles, Tamura Satoru

June 15 (Wed), 2022 - July 18 (Mon), 2022

  • Past Exhibitions
  • Special Exhibitions

“Spinning Crocodiles, Tamura Satoru”, 2022, The National Art Center, Tokyo, installation view
Photographed by Kaneda Kozo

In commemoration of its 15th anniversary, the museum will hold a solo exhibition of contemporary artist, Tamura Satoru. Tamura Satoru has been creating mainly tridimensional artworks that move by electricity, under the theme of thoroughly stripping any meanings or purposes off his works. This exhibition will present one of his masterpieces, “Spinning Crocodiles,” which is a series of works, newly constructed as a large-scale installation.

For this very exhibition, utilizing the wide space of the National Art Center, Tokyo, Tamura designed Spin Crocodile Garden, a large-scale installation where 1,100 crocodiles, in varying sizes, spin along with a newly constructed 12-meter-long giant crocodile at the center. It is a garden where lots of colorful sculptures of crocodiles made of urethane, Styrofoam, and paper clay literally keep spinning through the use of electricity and motors. How are you going to feel when you enter the garden and wander around?

Tamura’s works, full of humor, will shake our established sense of values and make us think about the question, “What is art?” This exhibition will be enjoyed by children and adults alike as they experience the artist’s free and rich imagination.


June 15 (Wed), 2022 – July 18 (Mon), 2022

Closed on Tuesdays

Opening Hours

10:00-18:00 *10:00-20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays
(Last admission 30 minutes before closing)


The National Art Center, Tokyo / Special Exhibition Gallery 1E
7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558

Organized by

The National Art Center, Tokyo

Exhibition cooperation
MAKI Gallery; TEZUKAYAMA GALLERY; Nihon University College of Art; Utsunomiya Media-Arts College 


Supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, through the Japan Arts Council, Fiscal Year 2022

Admission (tax included)



(+81) 47-316-2772 (Hello Dial)

Artist Profile

Exhibition Highlights

Don’t ask why crocodiles spin.

In the fall of my third year at university, I had the assignment to create “art equipment using electricity.” Unfamiliar with electricity and no experience in the field, I was at a loss. The night before I was supposed to announce my plan, I decided to go to bed thinking whatever I envision first thing in the morning would be what I was going to make. The next morning, for some reason, it was an image of spinning crocodiles that popped up in my head. I didn’t know why but I decided that was it. I made a 4.5-meter crocodile spinning at 30 rpm (in 1994), and it was so beyond my comprehension that I was intensely excited, as if I had encountered something completely alien, although it was me that created it. It was then that I first became really conscious about becoming a creator. After that, I continued my creative activity for several years, thinking about the meaning of why “crocodiles spin,” until I finally realized that it was not the “spinning crocodiles” that was meaningful, but that this mysterious situation where “crocodiles are spinning, and I don’t know why” is the essence of the work. There is no answer to the question, “Why do crocodiles spin?” I would like you to take this big question home with you.

Tamura Satoru



Archives of "Spinning Crocodiles, Tamura Satoru" [2.3MB]


PR video

The road to 1101 crocodiles spinning, 08'09”

The road to 1101 crocodiles spinning [Sign Language Ver.], 08'21”

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