Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 in short

In 2009 Japan museums held several memorable exhibition. In Ueno Royal Museum 'Neoteny Japan - Takahashi Collection' brought together works owned by private collector Ryutaro Takahashi. Exhibition defined Japanese contemporary art in terms of neoteny - the retention of cute and juvenile characteristics in adult species. The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography presented vividly colored portraits by Venice Biennale representative Miwa Yanagi while Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, run by renowned curator Yuko Hasegawa, held '+/- [the infinite between 0 and 1]' of Ryoji Ikeda's acclaimed digital sound installation. Established by collector Tashio Hara, the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art celebrated its 30th anniversary with 'Winter Garden: The Exploration of Micropop Imagination in Contemporary Japanese Art', a group show curated by art critic Midori Matsui that brought together young Japanese artists whose work exhibits a postmodern pop aesthetics.

Lyota Yagi, vinyl, 2006, installation
At yet another privately run museum Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (Watari-um), multimedia artist Shimabuku presented recent works. Taka Ishii Gallery displayed illuminated installations by Yukinori Maeda while neighboring ShugoArts held solo exhibition of black-and-white portratits by photographer Kazuna Taguchi followed by exhibition of Tomoko Yoneda's photographs relating to Bangladesh's independence from West Pakistan in 1971. Hiromiyoshii held solo exhibition of video artist Hiroharu Mori and snapshot photographer Hiromix. Radi-um von Roentgenwerke, run by veteran dealer Tsutomu Ikeuchi, exhibited Hideyuki Sawayanagi's portraits made of perforated metal sheets. and Taro Nasu presented an installation of botanical-themed works by artist-architect Jun Aoki. Gallery Koyanagi exhibited new animated videos by Tabaimo and photograps of Hiroshi Sugimoto who won the Japan Art Association's Praemium Imperiale award. Other notable spaces like Mizuma Art Gallery presented embroidery works by Satoru Aoyama. Ota Fine Arts held a solo show of guerilla multimedia artist Tsuyoshi Ozawa while blue-chip SCAI The Bathhouse presented new works by sci-fi conceptualist Mariko Mori.

Mariko Mori, Flat Stone, 2007, installation
At Arataniurano, Tatsu Nishi installed a slanting ceiling that forced viewers to the outer edge of the gallery's space. Another young up-and-coming gallery, Mujin-to Production featured the irreverent artist group Chim↑Pom. This year the group responded to cancellation of their show at Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art in 2008 after they wrote the word pika (flash) in white smoke in the sky over the Hiroshima city publishing a compilation of essays by critics and curators addressing the controversy. Tokyo metropolitan government funded Tokyo Wonder Site (TWS) presented an eye-catching installation of incinerated trash pouring down from the upper floor by Shinjin Ohmaki, who won Best Young Artist Award at ShContemporary Art Fair.

In Tokyo's neighboring metropolis Yokohama, the Yokohama Museum of Art held major exhibition for Teppei Kaneuji's multicolored plastic sculptures. North of the capital, 21st Century useum of Contemporary art Kanazawa held solo show of veteran artist Tadanori Yokoo. In Hiroshima, the Daiwa Press Viewing Room, a large showroom run by collector Tatsumi Sato, displayed sculpturally arranged photographs by Yuki Kimura while on the island of Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea, a public bathhouse designed by Shinro Othake opened to the public.

Cities outside Tokyo hosted an increasing number of regional biennales and festivals: Yokohama: 'CREAM - International Festival for Arts and Media', Kyushu: Kitakyushu Biennale titled 'Migrants, Immigrants, emigrants, refugees, Exiles, Expatriates and Others' and presenting new media works by artists from local alternative space Gallery SOAP, Fukuoka: Fukuoka Asian Triennale and Nigata: Echigo-Tsumari Triennial.

photos: Mujin-to Production, SCAI The Bathhouse
source: after Ashley Rawlings, ArtAsiaPacific, Almanac 2010

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