Tuesday, October 28, 2008

some contemporary history

In the early 90s Ozawa Tsuyoshi along with Murakami Takashi, Nakamura Masato and Aida Makoto revolutionized the Japanese art scene. His most well known project is Nasubi Gallery, which is a satirical comment on the rental gallery system in Japan.

Ozawa Tsuyoshi, Nasubi gallery 1993-2003
In 1993 in front of the "Nabisu Gallery" in Ginza, Toyko, Ozawa opened a miniature portable gallery made of converted milk delivery boxes which housed other artists exhibition without the fees that rental galleries such as Nabisu charged. Because of its size, Ozawa Nasubi Gallery popped up in the streets of Tokyo, bookshops, cinemas, libraries and international art exhibitions. Many artists had shown their work there including Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami. Ozawa belonged to what is now called in art history lingo Tokyo Pop. Amongst his other works are The Museum of Soy Sauce Art with paintings made in soy sauce and Vegetable Weapons - photographs of girls from different countries holding "guns" made from vegetables.


Chim↑Pom is a name of six-person artist group formed in 2005 which is a reference to a childish word for penis in Japanese. The group godfather is Aida Makoto, an enfant terrible of Japanese contemporary art.

Recently Chim↑Pom made it to the media while preparing work for Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art show. On the cloudless Hiroshima blue sky they wrote with the aeroplane smoke the word pika which Japanese use in manga to discribe explosion or blast. This triggered a crushing ctiticism of the atomic bomb victims which resulted in exhibition cancellation and public apology of the curator. Even the usually carefree group leader went on explaining that work was to draw young generation attantion to atomic bombing not to hurt anyone's feeling but all his efforts were in vain.
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However this is not the first time when they are subject of controversy as in group DNA is to provoke and shake the society. One of other quite recent Chim↑Pom work made in Bali is Saya mau perigi ke TPA (Take me to the garbage disposal plant) an installation incuding video showing Ellie, the only female member as a cashed-up Japanese tourist dumping rubbish from helicopter onto a garbage pile where locals look for scavenges. Yet another shows Louis Vuitton bags (ones that each Japanese girl got to have) been blown in Cambodia with the unexpolded landmines .
Chim↑Pom, Saya mau perigi ke TPA, 2008, installation,
Courtesy of Mujin-to Production
I hope that Hiroshima scandal did not squeez their balls too much and soon they will be back with another subversive work.

Chim↑Pom, part of installation in NADiff, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

jungle phone

Jungle phone is Dai Fujiwara and Issey Miyake Creative Room installation currently on display in MOT as a part of Color hunting in Brasil exhibition. It is based on Keiji Koga discovery in which plants are transmitting sounds. The soundtrack for the occasion was produced by Sacha Gottiano who did a wonderful job to make us feel as though plants were talking!
Pitty that I couldn't take any photo nor get one from the organizers as the contract with the artist does not provision such option. Well ..

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mai Ueda poetry

Mai Ueda is a New York based digital and performance artist. Her works explores digital pop culture, sexuality and porn. Here is some of her poetry - songs, like the ones everybody sings in the shower. She sings only one line and people imagine the rest.

performance in Athens at Bios, July 16, 2008

Mai has already participated in many major art events such as the Tirana Biennale, Biennial of Lyon, WhitneyBiennale.com and recently in Chanel Mobile Art . She believes that websites are new art objects and collects different .coms such as romanticus.com, hellomypet.com hoping that in near future she will sell them with profit.
See more at maiueda.com

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Paris Photo: focus Japan

Photography in Japan seems to be the media which does not have much of Western influeunce and brings up new quality to the field. That's why it is not surprising that it already gained world recognition and is on the spotlight during this year Paris Photo. Below just a random selecion of artist who are shown during the exhibition and fair.

Ueda Yoshihiko, Bones and stoneware, recent
The series Bones and stoneware is the recent project of this leading contemporary photographers with the advertising background in which he collaborated with University of Tokyo photographing the collections of the university museum.

Ikeda Akiko, Their sight/your sight (since 2000)
Yoneda Tomoko, Lovers from After the thaw series, 2004
Seemingly ordinary photo which turns out to be battle fields which changed the course of history or places after the great disasters. And then suddenly our perception changes - the photographs are no longer so ordinary.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

project room: paramodel

I've just come back from Tokyo Wonder Site where I saw an awesome installation by Yasuhiko Hayashi and Yusuke Nakano, an artist duo from Osaka prefecture currently based in Kyoto. What they do as PARAMODEL is covering white gallery walls with plastic toy train rail tracks which wind endlessly covering everything from the floor to the ceiling. They look like graffiti from the distance and like a rail road map from a close up where respective elements of the urban landscape are recognizable. All has a stunning visual effect!
Paramodel, Paramodelic graffiti, 2005, Kyoto Art Center
When I google them it turns out that they cover in their graffiti not only gallery walls (see below).

Paramodel, Paramodelic graffiti on the roof garden of the Sawada Mansion
Paramodel, Plarail, 2007, Okazaki Mindscape Museum
photo: paramodel and Seiji Toyonaga


Kyoto-based artist Hiroe Saeki drawings have been allegedly so popular among collectors that they are bought as soon as they are finished. She draws with mechanical pencil 0.5mm on Kent paper. The lines are barely visible and juxtaposed with the broad whitness of the paper. The blank spaces, bird-and-floral motifs and the merging of few paper sheets in what looks like screen are said to br reminiscent of traditional japanese paintings. Thought upon closer examination one might notice some interwoven women accessories like ribbons, mirrors, high-heels or pins which definately belong to the modern world. Apparently this original fusion won the artist popularity. But even thought Saeki has been producing her meticulous drawings since 2003 only this year she has been recognized in her home country by receiving VOCA Encouragement Prize. She also participated in the group exhibition at NACT as one of the emerging Japanese artist. Saeki’s works are already part of MOMA, UBS and Deutsche Bank collections.

Hiroe Saeki, untitle 2007, pencil and ink on paper