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チェックと日本の現代美術界についての感想

Kaneuji, Tanaka & Nishi in LA

2010年4月22日


A classic 1940s Modernist Case Study House high up in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, was transformed dramatically last weekend by an exhibition of Japanese and Korean artists, including Teppei Kaneuji, Koki Tanaka and Tatzu Nishi. The show, organised by Seoul based One and J. Gallery in collaboration with UCLA based curator Gabriel Ritter, was orginally designed to bring to foreground promising Korean artists who had been left out from a recent Korean contemporary show at LACMA (“Your Bright Future”) because they were painters and scultptors. But the three complementary big name Japanese artists were added to the show at the suggestion of Ritter, who specialises in Japanese contemporary art, and organised the recent Tokyo Nonsense show, which included Ichiro Endo and Chim Pom.



It was a spectacular location, high up on a residential road winding through the hills and greenery and ten million dollar homes. A line up of white tuxedoed attendants awaited cars looking for parking in the narrow steep street. Music wafted over from an outdoor lounge DJ, and waiters as beautiful and expensively dressed as the invitees fed the the Hollywood style guest list with expensive looking cocktails and finger snacks.

Kaneuji’s “Splash and Flake (Pipeline)” (above) adorned one bedroom wall, playing riotously with an old wooden root and various bits of plastic piping in a room otherwise a model of minimalist white and silver. Nishi had sent in the photo of a tofu machine and fridge, that was seen recently at ArataniUrano in Tokyo. This work needed more explanation, although it looked right in the kitchen. Tanaka meanwhile had been given the pateo to work with, creating an incongruous looking DIY sculpture that filled the back garden with a questioning presense. A mass of brown package tape enveloped and overwhelmed an old wooden desk hidden underneath. From a distance it looked like a huge, strange, but benevolent monster bird had landed in the garden, maybe looking for worms amidst the spotless pebbled gardens and cacti vegetation.



In his notes for the show, and discussions with visiting art writers, Ritter described how the show sought to juxtapose the simple, everyday aesthetic of the artists – which uses mundane objects and wry observation of mostly Asian urban life – with the immaculate and sleek and utopian American house, revealing “a transnational dialogue between art and architecture that explores alternative hybrid modernities”. As the sun was setting, and the beautiful folk of LA chatted against the backdrop throb of oceanic dance music, you could not help but by awestruck by the dream of living and creating art in such an exquisite location.



This is what Koki Tanaka is currently doing. He has been based in LA for more than a year now, and I interviewed him near his home in Echo Park a couple of days earlier. I will write about this meeting in a future blog. He is finding new inspiration in the amidst the colour, light and variable space/time geometries of the sprawling city, and the exhibition at this famous house offered a prime time exposure to an elite LA arts and culture crowd.



ADRIAN FAVELL
http://www.adrianfavell.com

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Kaneuji, Tanaka & Nishi in LA
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