Thursday, August 28, 2008

leading artists of Japanese contemporary art

Miwa Yanagi, Yuka, 2000, chromogenic print on plexiglass
This photo cames from the series titled My Grandmothers. The artist asked Japanese women in their 20s how would they imagine themselves in a 50 years. After hearing all stries she recreated them in a series of photograps. Here red hair Yuka speeds on the motorbike across the Golden bridge with her young lover. I saw this photo in the private collection of Mr. Obayashi. Anazing how bright Japanese women see they future.

Miwa Yanagi, Fortunetelling, 2005, video installation
Recently in Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography I saw Miwa video installation in which she experiment with slow motion. Somehow this work miss the impact of the photographs from similar series Fairy tales.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

gallery Q

Another nihon-ga artist whom I came across at Gallery Q. Very decorative paintings inspired by Jakuchu and Flemish painters which touch on one of social problems that troubles modern Japan - suicides of young people.

Ai Shinohara, Make children take to feeding, oil on cotton, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

West meets East

Ken Hamaguchi, Black, Sutra and the Rest, photo: Natsu Tanimoto
Western pin-ups girls juxtapose with Japanese kinbaku and Buddhist sutra by 'the' upcoming artist Ken Hamaguchi. It's been arguable though what's behind all these pictures. Condemnation, sexual desire, disguise pornograhy or maybe all?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

kimo kawaii

Sako Kojiama, I can be alone, silicon, 2005
Sako Kojima is a performer, sculptor and painter. She is a Japanese Oleg Kulik. The latter performed in the gallery as a dog chained next to a sign which read ‘dangerous’ biting those who ignored it. Kojima is a hamster. To learn how convincing she is see her performance ' Why I Became a Hamster' in the gallery in Lille at:
As a sculptor and painter she creates 'cute animals' which are scary at the same time.

Sako Kojiama, Present for my ear, silicon, 2005

Monday, August 18, 2008


The first post I decided to dedicated to four Japanese contemporary artists who do not try to copy European or American art but base their creative ideas on Japanese traditions and culture (in this case pop culture). These are all femal artists who in they own way criticize the image of women which prevails in japanese world of comics, advertising and toys. In western culture such attitude in art would be called feminism. Are these japanese feminists? never hear this term in Japan though.

Mika Kato, Gossamer, 2005, oil on canvas
Japan has been using dolls for religious and ceremonial purposes ever since Edo era (a. 1000 A.D.). Kato chose to paint them and their fantastic worlds. Her work process is very laborious as she at first sculpture the doll out of clay, dress it and only then paint it. This sophisticated way of work has something of the doll lover which is still a strong community in Japan. 'Buying a doll is like a marriage' says one of the doll lovers. They often treat their dolls as wives or children playing and talking to them.
Mahomi Kumikata, Crayon, 2004, acrylic on canvas
Takeshi Murakami art production factory - Kaikai Kiki artist. Her works are very personal and pshycological in which she explores such themes as abandonment, masochism, and depression. Her works are strongly influenced by manga and otaku culture.

Ryoko Suzuki
, Anikora-Seifuku 03 and 04, 2007,
chromogenic color print
Anikora is know in Japan as photo collaging in which faces of female celebrities are attached to the bodies of the nudes. In Ryoko series of the same title artist uses her own face collaging it onto the manga figurines bodies. And while manga and anime images are appealing to a lot of people in Japan and in many other countries a person with anime-like appearance look rather grotesque.

Ai Yamaguchi, Aokumo, 2003(exhibition view)
Ai Yamaguchi in her works creates a fantastic world of 9 and 10 year old girls who serve in the fictional courtesans house called Tage-no-ochaya (Teahouse-of-the-mountain pass).
Her style combines manga and the sensibility of ukiyo-e prints.

Ai Yamaguchi, Aokumo, 2003(detail)