Here, at last, is part 3 of my "Ten Days in Tokyo" diary from November 2011: an average week in the art world in Tokyo, checking out all the great things that are happening around the city.

First a little recap... In parts 1 & 2, I see Ichiro Endo everywhere, grumble about the Yokohama Triennale, marvel at Yayoi Kusama at Watarium, party with Shai The Great in a haunted dead hospital, go on the hunt for Yoshitomo Nara fakes at Junkudo book store, get wowed by Tomoko Yoneda at Shugo Arts, wonder about Yuko Hasegawa's curation at MOT, meet some emerging gallery directors, cycle around on a small shitamachi bicycle, and analyse the true meaning of Chaos Lounge. You can read and see it all here:

And so on to the next day ...


I start with a hair cut in Iidabashi, which is a fun way to practice beginners Japanese. Close by is the Hongo Tokyo Wonder Site. There is a Makoto Aida show coming up, but the opening will be next week, after I've left town. It's a kind of residency where he is working with a set of young artists, and I should be able to see some of the work in progress this weekend. I heard it might be open this morning, but in fact it's closed -- but I can wave and say hello to Aida through the window.


It's a day for getting things done, so I go do a bit of shopping in Daikanyama, then hop in a taxi down to Kami Meguro to look for Hideki Aoyama's small but much talked about gallery. Aoyama is a former gallerist with Mizuma, and a number of artists moved with him after he set up his independent space. I'm on the hunt for information about another show I'm missing next week, Koki Tanaka's recent set of works, "A Proposal for a Personal Art History", first seen at the Yerba Buena Gallery in San Francisco, 2010.


Aoyama is an inspirational gallerist every bit as interested in pushing the boundaries of contemporary art as running a commercial operation. The gallery is an old car repair shop in a charming, village-like area. By chance, Aoyama is in, and over coffee we talk about the new work Tanaka has done in Los Angeles, his transformation of the space at the Yokohama Triennale, and his general stellar trajectory (which we now know is going to take him to Venice at the Japan Pavilion in summer of 2013).

Tanaka is an artist who has always located what he is doing in global art currents, but in the proposal, in which he sketches as drawings some famous Japanese performance art works of the past which broke the bounds of the white cube (such as Saburo Murakami's "Breaking Through Many Paper Screens",1956, Yoko Ono's "Clock Piece", 1963, On Kawara's "I Got Up..." postcards series of 1973/4, or Enoki Chu's "Went to Hungary With HANGARI", 1977), thus reappropriating the works and making clear own debt to avant garde Japanese art of the fifties and sixties. Tanaka's text is crisp and conceptually well formulated: "History is written from someone else's perspective, someone you don't know. Making our own history requires each of us to rewrite it from our own point of view ... These artists found alternative possibilities in everyday activities as a way of thinking critically about the process of making art".

Aoyama offers to fix me up in a cheap ryokan nearby next time I'm in Tokyo. I go for an exploratory walk around this typical quiet residential neighbourhood that is still only a short walk from Naka Meguro.

I swing by the opening party of the "You are Here" at AMU in Ebisu, a series of events linking Berlin and Tokyo artists, partly organised by a curator I know Nine Yamamoto-Masson. Unfortunately, I'm a bit early for the action, and there's not much information on the displayed works, but I am impressed by a video work by Ayaka Okutsu, "Don't Call it Suicide", where she recounts harrowing autobiographies of women caught in the trafficking business while violently pouring and drinking a glass of red wine. I head off for a drink with Ryoko Aoki whose avant garde Noh performance I caught the week before. Nijikai, meanwhile, is a late night drink with Julian Worrall, with whom I am hatching plans for a new book about art and architecture since the end of the bubble economy in the early 1990s. We prop up a bar in Shinjuku sanchome along with all the tired salary men, until it's time for the last train.


Time is speeding up as I get closer to the end of my stay. This always happens: after a few days in Tokyo there are too many things I have heard about going on to fit in the schedule. Saturday is a bit of a rush around.

There are complicated removals today, as I'm having to move out of my Ueno hotel with all my bags and accumulated stuff, and as usual it's impossible to find big enough lockers in the train stations still free to store them. This practical detail about Japan is always a probem. In the end I have to go to Haneda direct to find some boxes big enough. This means I'm a little late getting for the main event of the day, where I'm slated to contribute a small talk to a artists/curators discussion about creativity as part of the "You are Here" events. When I arrive there are still a bunch of uneaten bentos on the organisers' office table so I bag one. As well as chatting a bit with former 101 Tokyo Art Fair producer, Antonin Gautier, I'm happy to find the curator Mizuki Endo has also shown up. Endo is among the most talented and original curators on the Japanese art scene. He worked with Yuko Hasegawa at Mito, then directed the Arcus Project in Ibaraki, and is running an art organisation in Kyoto, HAPS. He has also worked abroad in Europe, the US and the Phillipines, and is known for his interview books both of American curators and of Japanese art world personalities who have spent time there (a book called, very cleverly, "America Made").


Endo's style and attitude couldn't be further from the stereotype of conservatism in Japan. He is a radical curator who believes in process based art as politics and promotes non-object-based art practices. In recent times, he has struck up a very productive relationship with the iconoclastic 90s artist Yutaka Sone; Endo curated the recent spectacular show at Tokyo Opera City at Sone's insistence. We talk a bit about my book, which Endo thinks will offer a significant external view of the scene -- it says a lot of things other people in Tokyo are not able to say. One thing that bothers him -- and this is a good point -- is that my story might be too much Tokyo focused. I certainly regret not having a few paragraphs more on the key influence of Dumb Type, on Yasumasa Morimura's legacy, and on artists such as Tadasu Takamine and Ryoji Ikeda. Kansai is ascendent again, with Tokyo in the post-Fukushima doldrums; it is a good time to emphasise the bi-polar, even multi-polar (i.e., regional) dynamics of conteporary art in Japn.

At my talk I sit next to Berlin based artist Hanayo, who is also part of the organisation of the event. I have briefly met her a long time ago, but it is great to talk a bit with a living link to the early 1990s art explosions that I talk about in my presentation. Hanayo is interested about my narrative of the events at the original Roentgen and at "The Gimburart" (1993), and fills in a few more precious details for me: such as the all-woman show curated by the brilliant Min Nishihara (who Endo describes as the true "genius" of the era), that was the start of Hanayo's career as a photographer and performance artist. Her current photography show, Sau Geile Kumpels, is at Hiromi Yoshii's new gallery in Roppongi.

Next on the menu is a fast visit to nearby Shibuya to take a look at Sueo Mitsuma's self-curated show, "Taro Love", of Mizuma artists at the Seibu department store. It is part of the 100 year celebration of the birthday of Taro Okamoto, of whom Mr Mitsuma is a great admirer. Taking over parts of a department store with some of the best of Japanese contemporary art is a harking back to the hey days of department store art shows in the 1980s and 90s, at Seiji Tsutsumi's Saison Gallery at Seibu in Ikebukuro, and at Parco in Shibuya, many of whose shows were organised by the mercurial art producer Taka Kawauchi. Parco in 1999 was also the show which launched Takashi Murakami's "Superflat" movement, for example. Mitsuma knows that he has a sellable brace of young and established mid-career artists, and it's a good collection, with excellent works by Yusuke Asai (on "loan", since he is in fact represented by Arataniurano), Sachiko Kazama, and some very early works by Satoru Aoyama showing the influence of London's cosmopolitanism during his Goldsmith's student days.

There is also a brilliant mini gallery by Akira Yamaguchi; what he offers as his
"Oriennale", a show of fragmented ideas or pre-art works thrown up he says by the creative process, like sediments or "ori". These are a funny series of riffs on art historical themes, jokes about art theory, or bits and pieces of installations he has made. The more I see Yamaguchi, the more I am impressed. If anything, his cult status as a graphic artist wrongly overshadows his talent as a conceptual artist.


Some Taro Love works in the show are also to be found around the store.
After getting a bit lost I track down the Haruka Kojin and Shinji Ohmaki installations, then last but not least, Hiroyuki Matsukage's adult themed floor mural/photo collage, "Your Funeral My Trial" (2011). With obsessive photos of a grown up woman in cosplay, it's an amazing thing to find on a third floor bridge between men's wear and the cosmetics department. Before leaving I load up on Yamaguchi souvenirs: an adorable miniature set of Edo style dolls house bedroom screens in his classic neo-Nihonga style.


I hop on the Tokyu Toyoko line at Shibuya -- immortalised in Tabaimo's "Japanese Commuter Train" for the 2001 Yokohama Triennial. This year's Triennial is still on, but I am more concerned with catching the last day of a three artist group show at Kanagawa, "Everyday Life/Hidden Reasons" featuring young installation artists all based in New York: Satoru Eguchi, Kazue Taguchi, and Midori Harima.


I'm particularly keen to see the work by Satoru Eguchi, who I met around the time of the opening of "Bye Bye Kitty" in New York last year. I'm not disappointed: Eguchi's brilliant two room installation would perhaps be my standout choice from the whole ten days. He is another young artist who makes things by hand with meticulous, almost impossible precision. Here the work consists of a room of objects, furniture, and spatial arrangement, and then a second room, an exact mirror image of the first room in, which everything looks exactly the same but has (on much closer inspection) been made out of paper mâché. It is an uncanny work, because there is only a slow realisation of the exactness of the copy, the tiny differences that inevitably appear between image and representation, and astonishment at the process. In the other rooms in the impressive space of this off the beaten track gallery, there is stong support from Taguchi's light installations and the evocative video landscapes by Harima. I'm not sure there was much to beat this show at the main Yokohama event.

This part of the day is but a prelude to the highlight of the weekend, which is an invitation to a special party thrown by Hiroyuki Matsukage in an odd building in deepest darkest Kotobukicho: "The Hostel Zen Art Project", a former doss house for the homeless -- still operational - whose top two floors have been turned into a strange art hotel as part of Yokohama's creative city programme. A number of the small cubicle like rooms, each 4 tatami sized, have been turned into art installation spaces: artists include Yusuke Asai, Junji Shiotsu, and the room I've been given, Asae Soja.


The party is a kind of marriage engagement celebration, with the couple, close student associates and a small number of invited artworld guests. Rain is messing up plans for eating on the roof terrace, so instead the dinner is located into one of the larger bedrooms for the group of about 20. I was late down today, and missed the the photo work that Midori Mitamura, whose guest I am, was shooting that day with rising young photographer Yousuke Takeda. Mitamura story board is the famous melancholic Yokohama woman, alone looking out to sea, in the background of photos of others -- lovers, youngsters, families -- enjoying themselves on the waterfront. It's a heavy story but it looks like they have had fun. As well as renewing acquaintance with the legendary Matsukage, I also meet Hidenori Kondo, whose writings, interviews and analyses of the art world have become essential reading Japanese art scene (he also collaborates with Koki Tanaka); and artist Izuru Kasahara, a pop artist from the legendary Shokudo art space group, another canonical reference from the self-organising Japanese art world of the 1990s.

Matsukage introduces people around the table, and the jokes, anecdotes and tall stories run thick and fast for a long evening of laughter. The food is great but the wine quickly runs out, and I run out at one point to get some beers; this is down-town Kotobukicho for sure, and these are depressing streets, some of the meanest streets in Japan, but it's a quiet sadness that hangs over it -- the ghosts of broken middle aged men -- not anything threatening. I'm staying over and it's going to be a long night, but I have to decline the late late night ramen with a hardcore of the group, including Kasahara, Kondo and Matsukage, because I really need some sleep. The refurbished doss house is surprisingly comfortable and luxurious.


I eat breakfast with Izuru Kasahara, and head back to Tokyo with Midori Mitamura. I'm running out of time -- my plane leaves late tonight -- and I still have two more big exhibtions to see: the return of two (more) of the Showa 40 nen kai across northern parts of town.

Makoto Aida's residency show at Hongo Tokyo Wonder site, "Be It Art or Not Art", is well under way, with the whole building full of works inspired by him, and assisted with him, by some of his youngest students and followers. Interestingly, there are a couple of uncomfortable looking police officers on duty in the building, perhaps because a lot of the work looks obscene. In the ground floor, a number of girls called Team Makopuri create bizarre shojo work, including a big camping tent installation with. Upstairs there are weird sexual video performances in drag by Chiho Hayashi and Fuyuhiko Takata.

The highlight, undoutedly, though is the whole room devoted to videos, artefacts and materials from one of the carnivalesque videos of the Alternative Puppet theatre GEKIDAN * SHIKI that Aida has been "advising", and which is organised with his wife Hiroko Okada and various disreputable associates. Its a hilarious and bizarre ribald narrative that looks like a contemporary Japanese version of Pere Ubu. Aida continues to be at the head of the Tokyo avant garde, as this show underlines. Aida is there, and we manage a brief broken chat in Japanenglese.


The final stop of my ten day tour is to be a classic one: Asakusa, where I've heard Tsuyoshi Ozawa is put on peculiar revival of a famous historical exhibition: the first ever exhibition in Japan of oil paintings from the West, which took place in the grounds of the Sensoji temple, in the first years of the Meiji era (1874). Ozawa describes the show as "The Reproduction of the Tea House Oil Painting Gallery", and has provided an elaborate array of historical documentation to accompany the show.


At that time, the shitamachi located Asakusa was a vibrant entertainment district where new cultures were born. Behind the main hall of Sensoji, there were many teahouses and shops where visitors would stop for fun and relaxation. In this "low" cultural environment, Western art was first discovered (Ozawa argues), a "foreign" sideshow along with circuses and other curiosities. The paintings by artist Goseda Horyu were commissioned by a newspaper, the Tokyo Nichinichi shimbun and described with the new word for "art" that had just been introduced into the Japanese language. But they were displayed in the style of the old wooden ema plaques, in which people could pass judgements on the work in custom made hanging hall (emado). It was nothing like a modern museum. Thus was modern art in Japan born, out of a tradition that has been lost as art was moved from teahouses to the neutral environs of art museums.


It takes a while to find the place amidst the tourist throng, but finally I spy Ozawa's ready made mini-gallery space, another one of his home-made looking shacks. With his students from Geidai, Ozawa has repainted the repainted in oil the earlier oil reproductions of classical Japanese paintings, an ironic commentary on the invention of modern art in Japan. It's an immensely charming and fun historical work, posing the question of who is fooling who. As I take in the bizarre story line, I feel a tap on my shoulder: it's a delighted Ozawa, surprised to see me -- we'd seen each other recently at a talk show in London. He explains the concept to me, and invites me to stay for tea in the makeshift cafe outside. I'd love to sit down, but I'm on a tight schedule and have got to get off the airport soon.

Not much time left, but I'm determined to have a bath in my favourite Tokyo sento in the backstreets of Asakusa, and a least something nice to eat and drink in Ueno. It's not too long though before I'm heading off with all my bags, catalogues, flyers, documents and art souvenirs for my late night Haneda flight back to Europe.





投稿元 : ブルガリ時計 / 2013年07月01日13:26





10月 < > 12月

      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    


17/02/26 20:29
Radicalism in the Wilderness
16/06/02 14:50
Kyun-Chome on a LTERNATE f UTURES
16/01/04 02:56
15/02/07 23:39
Raiji Kuroda on aLTERNATE fUTURES
14/09/15 16:37
100 More Momoshimas
14/08/04 03:27
Islands For Life
14/07/03 04:18
aLTERNATE fUTURES...... My New Blog
14/01/26 11:24
13/12/09 02:00
Yukinori Yanagi
13/09/25 21:28
Theory of Tempelhof


12/10/20 08:41
12/09/25 15:05
Mario A / 亜 真里男
Documenta 13
12/02/18 22:13
東京の10日 (1+2)
11/08/03 15:52
田中 敦子
11/03/19 19:48
10/09/15 11:07
Mario A / 亜 真里男
10/08/24 16:26
10/07/19 22:29
Motus Fort
Roppongi Crossing 2010
10/05/19 12:43
Beat Kitano à Paris
10/05/06 23:25
Asada Crossing


  • 本日: 113 hits
  • 累計: 4032 hits
  • ※過去30日の累計を