California Dreaming (LA1)


YUKI HASHIMOTO, Saori (keitai)

Japanese artists can be found everywhere, but it is still rare that an enterprising curator marshalls enough resources and energy to mount a group show able to introduce new talent in a foreign location. Without go-betweens and cultural entrepreneurs the internationalisation of artists' careers cannot happen. English origin artist / curator Max Presneill is one such figure. He took over the direction of the little known Torrance Museum of Art in greater LA a couple of years ago, and has been putting on innovative and increasingly ambitious shows ever since. For their first truly international show, he has masterminded a show called "Gateway Japan" of young Japanese and Japanese-American artists, in collaboration with Tokyo gallerists Yuko Waukaume and Ei Kibukawa.

The city of Torrance is the heart of Japanese LA: a city that plays host to big Japanese corporations like Toyota and Honda and a large resident population of Japanese expats. At the downtown shopping mall you can feast on tonkatsu curry or ochazuke and shop for the latest edition of JJ or Studio Voice. So it was a natural thought to Presneill that they start enlarging the programme with an international exhibition focusing on Japanese contemporary art. The recent earthquake, which nearly played havoc with shipping and travel schedules, has provided a certain degree of media visibility. Yet the theme of the show isn't so much "Japan" but asking to what extent young emerging Japanese artists and slightly older, more established Japanese-Americans share in terms of the language of contemporary global art and particularly cross-Pacific cultural trends.

The show grew out of Presneill's experiences as a visiting artist in Tokyo in the early 2000s. He forged a connection with Gallery Lara, run by Yuko Waukaume, a gallery based in Roppongi that is not part of the usual inner circle. A more recent alliance has been established with the recently established eitoeiko gallery, which I wrote about in a previous blog.

The three curators are listed as co-curators, but they are joined too by artists from Taka Ishii, Nanzuka Underground and Wada Fine Arts.

Gallery Lara seems to specialise in clever installation artists: a rusty palace made out of household objects by Akihiro Yasugi, or the mysterious geometic objects made out of metallic paper mâché by Minako Kumagai. The end wall featured one of the stunning blue and white paintings by Tomoo Gokita, who I wrote about last year.

TOMOO GOKITA, Paraiso (2009)


I also liked the mysterious architectural landscapes by Keiko Sakamoto, and the embroidery of Taku Anekawa. The Japanese-Americans living and working in LA were generally older and with longer CVs in the exhibitions information book. Yet on the whole they were less convincing, harder to place, except that most seemed preoccupied with what it means to be Japanese. Gil Kuno's pregnant electric guitar was fun, but the big video hooked up in the centre of the main room looked like a poor copy of Bill Viola. Kuno has also organised a satellite show called "Wabi Savvy", in a West LA gallery JAUS that runs until May 1st. Also fun was the big installation of t-shirt tied together by clothes pegs by Akira Shikaya, as well as his riot of white robots made up of electical adapters plugged together in comic contortions.

YUKI YOSHIDA, Bio (2010)

Eitoeiko gallery has in short time pulled together an excellent roster of post-neo-pop artists, who each make playful and slightly odd minature scale art. Ei Kibukawa here featured four of his artists, who each made a clear and bold statement. I had seen the paper model ariplane kits by Shusuke Ao last year at the gallery. In the second gallery, a stand out installation was the strange circle of tiny monster embryos trapped in clear resin blocks, by Yuki Yoshida. Also creepy was the display box of keitai mobile phones by Yuki Hashimoto each transformed into the sculpted head of its teenage girl owner and embellished with flowers or leaves. The faces of these pretty girls looked out, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, each with their own story, written alongside the work in the titles display along with their names. Lika "Asami": "She came to Tokyo to be a singer, but she already seems knocked out by the hurly-burly of the city". Are they girfriends, or fantasy objects that the artist has collected?


The most familiar artist here, also eitoeiko, is Masaru Aikawa, who appeared at last year's Roppong Crossing. He represents the "post-digital" sensibility of the younger generation, as Tsukuba University art historian Olivier Krischer has named it: one of those younger artists whose lives are saturated in digital possibilities, but whose art is looking for some missing analogue alternative. Aikawa copies the artwork of famous cult LPs, and re-records the music by singing along badly. The resultant "cds" are then displayed as art. I adore LPs such as Meat is Murder by The Smiths or Kate Bush's The Dreaming, so I am somewhat disturbed by the imperfections in his copies of the cover art. In this show, Aikawa also has a new conceptual move, which owes a lot surely to On Kawara. He has been copying Black Sabbath's Master of Reality album every day, once a day, for twenty five days in January, as well as re-recording it four times. I'm not sure we ever needed one of Ozzy Ozborne, but now we have got 25 imperfect copies. I see this as another example of the anachronistic mission of some young Japanese artists to seek out alternative paths of retro-creativity as a reaction to the fact technology makes everyone a creator and everything possible.

I missed the opening on Saturday night. 800 people apparently had a raucous good time while also raising charity for the earthquake disaster funds. They watched as Jocelyn Faye orchestrated two world champion sumo wrestlers grappling on a wet circle of clay. That neo-japoniste publicity stunt won't hurt the show, although the mound of clay looked an ugly distraction while it was being cleared up on Tuesday.

The show runs from March 26 - April 30, and a catalogue will be available via the self-publishing website


**More images can be viewed here:





プラダ トート
California Dreaming (LA1)
投稿元 : プラダ トート / 2013年07月14日02:45





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