Born in 1982 in the Aichi Prefecture in Japan. Niwa graduated Tama Art University’s Department of Moving Images and Performing Arts in 2005. Since 2016, he lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
Niwa’s practice takes the form of social interventions realised through performance, video and installation. His works all bear self-explanatory, slogan-like titles, and are executed primarily on the street and in public spaces, experimenting with actions and propositions exposing the systems of exchange that drive contemporary society. Niwa’s work involves seemingly absurd and unproductive physical acts, as illustrated in Transforming Puddle A to Puddle B, 2004, when Niwa transferred water with his mouth from a puddle in East Berlin to create a new puddle a short distance away in West Berlin. Niwa frequently places himself in unusual situations in order to undermine and expose the emptiness of systems designed to create an illusion of “publicness”, as illustrated by his work Walk in the Opposite Direction of a Demonstration Parade, 2011, when he walked in the opposite direction to people demonstrating against nuclear power after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In recent years Niwa has taken an interest in the history of communism, moving on to projects that explore the nature of national history. Recent projects include Looking for Vladimir Lenin at Moscow Apartments, 2012, in which Niwa searches the homes of ordinary Russian families for images of Lenin years after the demise of the Soviet Union. His latest project, Withdrawing Adolf Hitler from a Private Space, 2018 in which Niwa offers to dispose of any unwanted or compromising memorabilia from the fascist era through newspaper advertisements to activate the imagination and confront the trouble past in Austria.