Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Speaking of Murakami he founded Geisai which is now in its 12 edition, a biaannual one-day fair to promote younger artists. One doesn't have to be Murakami fan to give him a credit for a chance he gave hundreds of artists without dealers/galleries to present themselves and offer works directly to collectors and the public. For winner of 12. edition check www.us.geisai.net/g12
His yet another enterprise is production company Kaikai Kiki which employs more than 100 people/artists in NY and Tokyo. Some of them shine with their own light already.

Masakatsu Iwamoto aka Mr., V, 2005, acrylic on canvas

photo: courtesy Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin. For his NYC exhibition check: www.youtube.com

Aya Takano, Noshi & Meg, on Earth, year 2036, 2002, acrylic on canvas

photo: courtesy NADiff

Chiho Aoshima, Japanese Apricot 2, 2000, digital print

photo: courtesy Blum & Poe/Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin

Friday, March 13, 2009


Jerry Saltz, New York art critic comments on Takashi Murakami retrospective at Brooklyn Museum. Since Murakami never shows in Japan it's worth watching the video to see few highlights of the exhibition which was originally curated for MOCA. A 90-piece multimedia show of whole Murakami brand. The Economist claims that even Andy Warhol did not go so far to build the shop in the center of the exhibition, where visitors can buy LV handbag, an essential accesory of each Japanese chic, with Murakami playful design. Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art Andy Warhol once said. Isn't Murakami deliberately called Japanese Warhol?

Monday, March 9, 2009

fresh paint

Each year art institutions in Japan takes pulse of Japanese contemporary art. Here a limited selection of fresh talents presented recently even though on most of the 'canvas' the 'paint' dried long time ago..

Artist File 2009
at The National Art Center is the annual showcase of what is new and interesting in contemporary art. This year NACT curators selected 9 artist (8 of them of Japanese origines): Ishikawa Naoki (photography), Hirakawa Shigeko (installation), Miyanaga Aiko (installation), Ohira Minoru (sculpture), Murai Shingo (sculpture), Kaneda Mio (painting), Saito Meo (painting), Tsugami Miyuki (painting).

Tsugami Miyuki, View 020403, 2002
Born 1973 in Osaka, MA at Kyoto University of Art and Design. Winner of VOCA prize in 2003, art resident of Ohara Museum of Art in 2005.
Hirakawa Shigeko, Tree of photosynthesis, 2009
Environmental artist born 1953 in Kurume (Fukuoka). Graduate of Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

Tree of Photosynthesis has been produced from plastic discs containing photochromic pigments which work like artificial leaves and stimulate photosynthesis through changing color: they are violet by day light and translucent milky white by night.

VOCA (The Vision of Contemporary Art) 2009
at Ueno Royal Museum is a showcase of 35 artist selected by curators, journalists and researchers from all over Japan. Choices are very conservative and concentrate mainly on one medium - paitings. This year VOCA Grand prize winner is Mise Natsunosuke, one of the young hopes of Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) while VOCA Encouragement went to Tomoko Kashiki and Kei Takemura.

Mise Natsunosuke, no English title, 2008
Tomoko Kashiki, Flower, 2006
Born 1982 in Kyoto working towards her PhD at the Graduate School of Art at Kyoto City University of Arts. Currently her exhibition runs at Ota Fine Arts. Her flat, smooth texture and flowing lines have a strong resemblance to Japanese paintings at the first sight. However all of her paintings are painted in acrylic, and managed to achieve smooth surface and layers of colors through her original process of painting on canvas and sanding.

Kei Takemura, detail of A.N.'s living room, premonition of earthquake, 2005
Born 1975 in Tokyo, lives and works in Berlin. Graduate of Tokyo National University of Fine Art and Music and Berlin Art Academy. After observing friends' daily activities Takemura reenacts their living using media like embroidery, drawing and performance. It evokes a sense that the fragments of intimate feelings and memories toward certain spaces and people are layered one after another. His works were shown at NACT last year as part of Artist File 2008.
Kohei Nawa, PixCell - Elk, 2008
Among the artworks shown at VOCA 2009 exhibition is Kohei Nawa new glue-drawing work while his beads work has been recently added to the collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. Another Ph.D. of Kyoto City University.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

project room: Shimabuku

It is symptomatic that international artist of Japanese origins rarely show in Japan. Shimabuku ever since he moved to Berlin has not been seen much on the islands. That's why his retrospective in WATARI-UM is a good news.

Michihiro ShimabukuBorn as a Box, 2001, installation
Shimabuku's works begin with simple, often surreal ideas. A sound sclupture which features talking cardboard box meditating on it own box-ness is no exception.

Michihiro Shimabuku, Fish&Chips, 2006, film
For Liverpool Biennial artist made a film which documents the fictional encounter between the popular British dish (fish&chips) constituents - fish and potato. This seemingly absurd encounter ultimately encourages a questioning of the mundane elements of daily life.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

project room: Yonetani Ken

Countries continues to release details of their plans for 53. Venice Biennale. Australia in addition to main pavilon will show a group exhibition featuring the themes of displacement, indigenous and environmental issues. Among the artists is Australia-based Japanese artist Yonetani Ken.

The image comes from the artist homepage and was taken during the exhibition 'fumie-tiles' in 2003. Over 2 thousand fragile tiles fired at low temperature to ensure fragility and featuring Australian endangered butterflies covered gallery floor at CSIRO Discovery in Cranberra and were broken by the attendants already at the opening reception. The artist wanted to make the audience feel and think about fragile environment through their own action, that is by stepping and smashing his artwork.