Thursday, December 29, 2011

hightlights of 2011

Yuken Teruya, Minding My Own Business, 2011
Beginning of the year witnessed series of contemporary events such as The Yebisu International Festival for Art&Alternative visions, New Tokyo Contemporaries and Tokyo Frontline, a new art fair held at 3331 Chiyoda Arts in Akihabara which in tandem with G-Tokyo now in its second year emerged as a competitive alternative to Art Fair Tokyo. G-Tokyo which is limited to 15 of Tokyo's top contemporary galleries opened on Feb 19th with an impressive group of Japanese artists on view. Although rising young artists has been Tomio Koyama Gallery successful card this time the gallery took a bold step to present veteran conceptual artist Kishio Suga hoping for his revival while Mizuma Gallery showed works by Akira Yamaguchi which sold out in the the first 30 minutes of the collectors' preview.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that followed sent the Japanese art world into a kind of stunned silence. Some exhibitions and events were postponed immediately in the disaster aftermath. By mid year life in Japan started to come back to normal though throughout the year numerous galleries held several auctions to rise the money for the victims and shows featuring past and present works addressing the disaster.

Kohei Nawa, PixCell-Elk#2, 2009
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT) run by renown curator Yuko Hasegawa, presented sculptor Kohei Nawa whose work has been getting attention both in Japan and overseas. The exhibition brought together sculptures and drawings created using six mediums that Nawa is famous for: beads, prisms, liquids, glue, polyurethane foam mist and ink droplets. It was followed by Architecture space for the 21st Century, a show curated by SANAA which was a vital follow up to World Congress of Architects held for the first time in Tokyo. National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT) showed a retrospective of Taro Okamoto that marked the centennial of his birth. Privately run Mori Art Museum (MAM) presented stop-motion video of Berlin-based Yukihiro Taguchi followed by Metabolism - the City of the Future.
Located in the commercial complex in Shinjuku Tokyo Opera City art gallery held Takashi Homma New Documentary along with Lee Ufan retrospective followed by House Inside City Outside House: Tokyo Metabolizing featuring contemporary architects such as Atelier Bow-Wow and Ryue Nishizawa seen from the Metabolist perspective. Next door NTT InterCommunication Center which focus on new media art presented emerging artist Seiko Mikami's interactive installations while Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography organized mid career show of Naoya Hatakeyama.

In Tokyo's neighbouring metropolis of Yokohama, Yokohama Museum of Arts hosted Tadasu Takamine ambiguous show Too far to see followed by the fourth Yokohama Triennale Our Magic Hour organized by the museum's director, Eriko Osaka, and Akiko Miki, chief curator at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Among works by 77 artists were pieces from graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo, Yagi Lyota, Taro Izumi, Imamura Ryosuke, Yokoo Tadanori, Takahiro Iwasaki and Noguchi Rika. Northwest of the capital, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, held a large solo show of monochrome, metallic paintings and installations by New York-based veteran minimalist Tadaaki Kuwayama. To the southwest, National Museum of Art, Osaka presented Kuwayama's all-white paintings and retrospective of photographer Daido Moriyama.

Makoto Aida, Ash Color Mountains, 2009-10
Abroad, Japanese art were present at the Venice Biennale with Tabaimo new animated video telecosoup on view in Japanese Pavillion, Tatzu Nishi installation at the Singapore Biennale and Yuken Teruya, Saburo Ora and Yanobe Kenji at the biennale City_net Asia at Seoul Museum of Art. It was particularly big year for Yayoi Kusama, who exhibited recent sculptors and paintings at Victoria Miro in London, Gagosian Gallery in Rome, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid and had her first French retrospective at Centre Pompidou. In New York , The Guggenheim Museum held a major retrospective of Lee Ufan, a Mono-ha artist and Japan Society presented Bye, Bye Kitty !!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art curated by David Elliot, a former director of MAM, presenting 16 artists who rejected kawaii aesthetic of contemporary Japanese pop culture. Hopefully those shows steal back some attention for Japan from Asian hottest Chinese, Indian and Korean art.

Friday, December 9, 2011

tida dome

Mariko Mori, Tida Dome, installation, 2011
Journey to Seven Light Bay, a new, much anticipated exhibition by Mariko Mori opened Dec 6. at Adobe Museum of Digital Media. This digital project transports AMDM visitors to the tranquil Miyako Island in Okinawa, Japan, where Mori has installed the first part of her monumental earth work, Primal Rhythm, consisting of a sun pillar and a moonstone which are moved by the sun and ocean tide. Mori's artistic philosophy encourages greater awareness of the natural world. According to Mori, this work is designed to unite the celestial and the terrestrial. It will be a lasting testimony that pays respect to the natural beauty of our surroundings on earth. The real time installation of Primal Rhythm will open in Okinawa on the winter solstice, December 22, upon completion of Sun Pillar.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Chim ↑ Pom, Making of the Sokushinbutsu, 2009
Chim ↑ Pom out-spooked everyone at ArtGig event which took place in the abandoned hospital on Halloween. The place itself with its empty CT rooms, crematorium, broken windows and rotten tatami mats could be a location of a horror movie however the top of the bill was the rooms where Chim ↑ Pom installed a mummy sculpture of Motomu Inaoka. The inspiration for this piece came from the sect of Japanese Buddhism called Shingon whose monks mummified themselves. The whole process was called sokushinbutsu and started in 17c. in the times of horrible famine in Japan when one of the Shingon monk decided the best way to end the famine would to mummify himself alive. The other monks follow and upon many experiments they came up with the method which they thought would be best process of mummification.

Here is the Shingon-approved self-mummification process in a few easy steps.

For three years, eat nothing but nuts and berries.
For the next three years, only eat bark and roots
Drink a special tea. By drinking tea made out of urushi tree, a substance which
is poisonous and usually used to lacquer bowls. The latter supposedly made
the body bacteria proof.
Bury yourself alive.
Seal yourself in a giant stone tomb. The monks gave the mummy-to-be a bamboo pipe for air and a bell to rang it every day so the fellow monks know that he was alive. When they didn’t hear the bell ring, they knew that the monk had died.

It is not clear however if Inaoka followed any of these process but it was recorded that by the end of the performance during which he fasted for several days being on the display of the exhibition he lost as much as 18kg. The group claims that the artist was fine after the end of the whole ordeal.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

post-3/11 art

The events of March 11 left Japan shaken in almost every way. Hundreds of thousands Japanese lost their families and homes. The country known as the one of most technologically advanced was facing shortages of fuel, electricity and food due to three fold tragedy - earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. Till then Japanese people often referred to their society as suffering from heiwa boke (lit. peace foolish) that long period of stability and prosperity made the country complacent.

Chim↑Pom, Kiss, video still, 2011
The first to react was always trouble-stirring artist group Chim↑Pom who surreptitiously added a panel of burning Fukushima nuclear plant to Taro Okamoto mural 'The myth of tomorrow' which depicts atomic bombs exploding over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

They also sneaked in to the nuclear plant facility to make a video that later appeared on the youtube in which alleged worker points out an accusatory finger at plant operator's (TEPCO). One of the most recent works entitled, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, focus our attention on social issues related to Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis. The video depicts two light bulbs, decorated with cartoonish faces of a man and a woman cuddling and courting. An allegory uses light bulbs to express the anxiety and loneliness people are suffering from after the earthquake and unprecedented growth of marriages. But light bulbs are also clear reference to energy issues and encouragement to public discourse about nuclear power.

Artists responded to the post-tsunami situation in a various way from participation in charity actions to workshops with people from tsunami affected areas. I found particularly interesting those which were socially and politically involved since I do not have much chances to see these kind of art in Japan.
Shimabuku, Stop and Think, installation for Yokohama Triennale 2011
Shimabuku, for the Yokohama Triennale installed a billboard along the shinkansen rail line which read Stop and think . The message was addressed to the people crossing the country on a high speed bullet trains to stop and consider their life styles and where the world is heading to in the context of recent events.
Tsubasa Kato, 11.3 PROJECT: The Light Houses, 2011
Another interesting project organized in tsunami hammered North was that of a young artist Tsubasa Kato who gathered around 300 locals to help him pull up a model of light house previously damaged the tsunami. Raised through a massive communal effort, the light house seemed to raise hopes for reconstruction.
Koki Tanaka, Painting to the Public (open-air), walking event including friends, painters, artist, people who received information through Twitter, from Meguro Museum of Art to Gallery Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo, March 2012
Least but not last the first of Koki Tanaka post-3/11 works, Painting to the Public (open-air) performed on the streets of Tokyo on March 24, 2012, roughly one year after the earthquake. Tanaka invited participants to join him and other artists on a walk through the Meguro area of Tokyo as they presented their paintings directly to the public. The walk symbolically began at the Meguro Museum of Art, which a year earlier had canceled its exhibition “Genbaku wo miru 1945–1970” (“Visualizing the Atomic Bomb 1945–1970”) in the immediate aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake. Walking with their paintings in hand or mounted to wooden boards like picket signs, the group of about 30 participants resembled a political protest—a connection Tanaka made explicit in his statement for the project. Conflating ideas of plein-air painting with the 1964 Anti-Art actions of artists Hiroshi Nakamura and Koichi Tateishi (known together as the Research Center for Art Tourism), Tanaka reimagines the act of presenting painting directly to the public—without the aid of electricity or artificial light—as a form of protest against the Japanese government’s sponsorship and continued use of nuclear power. Following the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactors, Japanese businesses were required to reduce electricity usage by 15 percent in order to relieve stress on the country’s crippled electrical infrastructure. For ecologically conscious individuals, small changes in their daily routine to conserve electricity quickly took on a political dimension—being “green” became synonymous with an antinuclear position. In a similar fashion, Tanaka’s performance transformed the public display of painting into a form of protest, exploring painting’s newly realized subversive potential in post-3/11 Japan. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

architecture: utopian modernity

Kisho Kurokawa Nakagin Capsule 1972
This fall is an architecture season in Tokyo with World Congress of Architects as a centerpiece and related exhibitions such as the one in Mori Art Museum which takes a look at the revolutionary architectural movement from 60s. The Metabolism movement was developed during the period of reconstruction in which war-torn Japan worked to move toward its period of rapid economic growth. Gathered around the iconic figure of Kenzo Tange the group of young architects including Masato Otaka, Fumihiko Maki, Kiyonori Kikutake, Arata Isozaki and Kisho Kurokawa engaged in heated debates over the ideal city, and planned a great deal of experimental architecture and cities based on ideas of lifestyles and communities for a new era. As their name suggests, the Metabolists responded to urgent problems like the sudden increase in population and expansion of cities by proposing large-scale architecture and urban planning that would continue to change in form organically as opposed to static urban conditions illustrated in Le Corbusier schemes. These ideas first surfaced in 1960 at the World Design Conference where the Metabolist group presented a manifesto entitled: Metabolism 1960: Proposals for a New Urbanism. It coincided directly with the Income Doubling Plan that the Hayato Ikeda cabinet implemented in 1960. This moment constituted, in the words of Rem Koolhaas — perhaps the most influential architect alive and an avid student of the Metabolists' ideas — a rare moment where government, bureaucrats and artistic architectural circles were connected in a single enterprise.

Kiyonori Kikutake Marine City 1963

Isozaki Arata Shibuya Project: City in the Air 1962
Assembling more than 500 items, the exhibition reveals visions of cities floating on water and spiraling into the air; towers bristling with plug-in capsules for dwelling, linked by huge tubes for services and movement; grand plans for cities and farms presented in models, sketches, plans, archive film footage and 3D animations.

photos: courtesy Mori Art Museum and Kikutake Kiyonori

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

architecture: new pantheon?

Teshima Art Musuem is located on an island in Seto Inland Sea. It faces the ocean from a hillside covered with rice terraces. The museum is unlike most art museums– unlike most buildings– in that it doesn’t treat the outside as a source of contamination and is completely open, a brandmark of Ryue Nishizawa from SANAA. Nishizawa, both working alone and with his partner Kazuyo Sejima, has gradually revolutionized museum architecture in Japan. The building itself resembles drop of water and corresponds with Rei Naito work Matrix which it hosts inside. A thin concrete slab stretches as long as sixty meters creating a large organic interior. Low ceiling, four-and-a-half meter height with two apertures let the light, rain and the air penetrate the inside. This structure was possible only thanks to technology since there is no straight line in the entire design. Inside water that had been welled from underground slowly springs up from various spots flow freely morphing into the shapes, whirl and disappear again. It's a place of meditation over life where architecture, art and environment blends together.

photos: Noboru Morikawa

Saturday, August 6, 2011

exhibition: triennale

The fourth edition of Yokohama Triennale, titled OUR MAGIC HOUR - How Much of the World Can We know? focuses on art that makes use of motives related to mysteries of the world, everyday life and magical powers as we read in the guidebook introduction.

How much magic is in this exhibition?

At the Yokohama Museum of Art, which is for the first time the primary triennale venue, visitors are greeted by the rainbow sculpture entitled our magic hour, which also serves as the exhibition title and by the group of sculpture monsters guarding the entrance (both by Ugo Rondinone).

photo: William Andrews

Inside, the first artwork beyond the museum lobby is Aurélien Froment video Théâtre de Poche in which magician conjures images into the air telling a cyclical tale. To either side of this gallery are minimal installations by James Lee Byars, Wilfredo Prieto and Motohiro Tomii. The two latter play with our notion of value arranging simple materials such as pins or zirconia so that they evoke viewers' astonishment. Following the route attentive viewer will spot easy-to-overlook work Still White, Corridor by Atsushi Saga, who polished the gallery wall to a subtle sheen.

Wilfredo Prieto, One, 2008

photo: Monika Rendzner

James Lee Byars, The Diamond Floor, 1995

photo: William Andrews

In other rooms contemporary art is integrated with works from museum's collection coming from different ages from ukiyo-e prints to Coptic textiles and mid-twentieth-century Surrealist paintings. The one which keeps me for longer is the Massimo Bartolini installation Organi, in which a scaffolding has been transformed into musical pipes with a small music box placed on the floor. Along with the Damien Hirst stain-glass shape multicoloured collages made of dried butterflies wings this high-ceiling room make me feel like in a chapel.

photo: Monika Rendzner

The other venue is three-level BankART Studio NYK which has different dynamics and which hosts mostly site-specific installations. Here the artistic director, Akiko Miki, seems to walk away from the theme of wonderment prevailing in the main venue. This exhibition is partly playful with Rivane Neuenschwander interactive installations that resembling the playground on the second floor and partly meditative. I am glued to Susan Norrie video Transit in which she juxtaposes the owe of nature and the technological development that is used to control it. Christian Marclay video The Clock which won Golden Lion in Venice this year is one of the last work in the exhibition and one where most flock.

Rivane Neuenschwander, Prosopopaea, 2010/Izumi Taro, Fishbone as slang, 2010

photo: Monika Rendzner

Whether the decision to include a greater number of local artists was intentional or resulted from shrunken budget it was good to see works by Yagi Lyota, Taro Izumi, Imamura Ryosuke, Yokoo Tadanori, Takahiro Iwasaki, Noguchi Rika and the Koichi Yumoto Collection of Japanese ghosts and monsters amongst others.

Friday, July 15, 2011

exhibition: incomplete

I'm now reading the catalogue of Tadanorii Yokoo show Incomplete - What's yours is mine. What's mine is mine, which was held in 2009 at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary art in Kanazawa. Tadanorri, a true pioneer in the realm of postwar Japanese visual and pop culture, at the age of 29 was catapulted into the upper echelons of the booming Japanese avant-gard art warld of mid 60s. thanks to his most remarkable graphic art posters.

His bright colour palette and pastiche-like images culled from pop culture proved incredibly popular and soon Yokoo became a much sought after designer, being commissioned to create not only posters for the theatre and art world but also ad campaignes. He also began to paint. His works from that time present bold images of women (pink girls) who brazenly expose themselves as they never would normally.

After producing 20 of these paintings over May-June of 1966, which gain him a label of art world bad boy, Yokoo distanced himself from painting until early 80s. when he decided to move away from graphic art and become full time painter. Yokooo's painting style varies greatly, from almost photorealistic depictions to highly impressionistic. I don't have any particulare style, he syas. The look of the painting changes to suit the subject matter or theme. Though, as with his graphics design works, Yokoo's paintings have their own set of recurring motifes. One of them is a series of Y-junction paintings that depict a deserted intersection in an anonymous Japanese town, with a narrow, dilapidated building, a bar or restaurant of some sort, wedged between the two forks in the road. The time of day, weather conditions, and identifying markers like shop and street signs vary with each painting, but the cumulative effect is one of devastating bleakness and isolation. The Y intersaction paintings are reminiscent of the works of Giorgio de Chirico (Italian Surrealist) best known for his depiction of large, empty plazas with looming buidings and monuments.

Yokoo is one of the star artist at this year's Yokohama Triennale, for which he painted 15 works representing a new development in the Y-junction series. This deeply coded and personal series can be perceived as a crossroad of now at which one is force to choose one of two options.
Interview with Yokoo Tadanori.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

project room: Yukihiro Taguchi

Yukihiro Taguchi Moment: Performative Hills is the commisioned work for the MAM Project, where white wood panels are stripped off the gallery walls and make their way out of Mori Museum. Away from the gallery walls they become involved in a number of performative installations, their activity is recorded as a stop-motion animation and then exhibited back within museum walls. Edan Corkil, staff writer of Japan Times, interviewing the artist wonders why Taguchi is not behind the bars yet for what seems in Japan "an obstruction of public thoroughfare".

Taguchi has an answer for this, he lives and works in Berlin. If I had stayed in Tokyo I would have ended up a very different artist he says. Things are done differently over there. There's an openness, a willingness to try things, and it invites experimentation.

He graduated from most prestigious of art schools in Japan, Tokyo University of the Arts. But since he was keen to avoid a trap of rental gallery system, where one spend a year doing part time jobs only to make enough money for a single show which lasts only for a week, he went to Berlin which changed his art thoroughly. Although he spent four years in oil-painting department he is influenced by Tadashi Kawamata who works in the midst of demolition and construction building new and unusual structures from scrap or reclaimed materials. You can read more of artist's confessions at:

Monday, May 30, 2011

interview: a girl who almost swallowed a tapeworm

I recently visited the world only Parasite Museum to find soon afterwards Kuronuma Mayumi, the artist who got inspired by the tapeworms displayed in the ultra-marine-colored background show cases.

Here's an excerpt of an interview with the artist published in WHO series.

Roger McDonald: The first artwork that caught my attention was the tapeworms. I heard that she would go to the parasite museum to sketch, but what was interesting was that, she would not only draw from the skatches but also creat life-size knitted tapeworm. I asked Kuronuma san to exhibit her knitted tapeworms in the several projects [..] At Fukui Art Musuem it was displayed on the floor as one long line. Just like an actual tapeworm, the work keeps changing its form.
RM: Have you ever tried to put one inside you?
Kuronuma Mayumi
: It's said that they are probably now extinct so you cannot get larva anymore [..].
RM: Mayumi are there any artists that you particularly like?
: I like Kelly and Henry Darger.
RM: Kelly really makes interesting things. He is an artist fascinated by subculture, punkhorror and the occult. When we talk about Mike Kelly, the word 'abject' is often used.
I don't think you are an ousider like Darger, but you have this kind of haunting or obsessive quality

Saturday, April 2, 2011

video: Hiraki Sawa

Hiraki Sawa, Figment, video, 2011
"A boy closes his eyes for 25 minutes and wakes up with the world gone from behind his thoughts. His language slips and shifts, he tastes orange juice without knowing anymore to describe it as sour, he likes numbers but cannot put names to faces. His room is filled with a thousand records and many more. He sees the records, unable to listen. He can't see the floor, has never seen the floor beneath them, wouldn't recognise it if he met it in the street. He meets people in the street and his only option is to trust that they know him when they say they do. His records become opaque, circular slabs of the unknown and the unknowing. A fog of landscapes without contours, without borders, that can only be read by touching. To move forward he must step out, one foot then the other, and believe that he is indeed moving. His mind like an emptied lake, the sky welling upward and outward, unable to contain the depth of it all, the bottomless, fathomless wealth of the things he lost in his sleep"*.

A new work in which Sawa explores the phenomenon of amnesia and the devastation of severe memory loss through a series of abstract visual sequences.

*Text by Dale Berning


On the ocassion of the Singapore Biennale Japan Creative Center presents Akira Yamaguchi new project Singa Planet along with few previous pieces. In the catalogue forward we read: The characteristic feature of Yamaguchi Akira's work is his way of incorporating various manners and events from different ages and cultures, as well as scenes of contemporary life into the formats of rakuchu rakugai zu (panoramic scenes of urban life during the Edo period). This time however Singa planet was inspired by the contemporary life of Singapore and its publicly governed and developed housing facilities populated by over 85% of society.

Department store: New Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, 2004
From the previous works that attracted me a lot is the one above partly because it shows my neighborhood, party because it brings new dimention to the discussion about Meji-era Nihonbashi Bridge and the Metropolitan Expressway arching above it. The later was built in 60s. when Tokyo underwent major makeover before Tokyo Olimpics and is considered a symbol of landscape distruction since it was built over the old bridge. When the city competed for 2000 Olimpics there had been some plans to hide the expressway underground. But there are also voices that the present landscape is far more precious and Tokyoesque than Nihonbashi bridge which is after all just a mere copy of something one would find in Europe.
In his painting Yamaguchi adds another bridge to the landscape which is the orginal wooden bridge from Edo-era built over the expressway and a cinical comment to the whole discussion.

Yamaguchi witty painting style with sense of play and enterteinment makes his picture accounts for his popularity among the viewers and the rising prices for his works which I experianced personally buying recently one of his prints.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

art in public space: Merlion Hotel

I've been recently to Singapore which holds art biennale now in its 3rd edition. On this occasion, Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi created an installation around the 8.6-meter-tall Merlion turning it temporarily into a hotel where for the 80$ per night one can enjoy intimacy with the Singapore iconic landmark and a beautiful view over Marina Bay Sands. During the day people can visit the hotel, while each evening is for checked-in guests only. In this project public and private spheres overlap and bring citizens eye-to-eye with a monument that usually towers far overhead. Reservations for Merlion Hotel, which were available to the public for one month sold out within a day.

Merlion Hotel is part of the Berlin- and Tokyo-based artist's series of site-specific room installations that incorporate public landmarks. Merlion is the latest in the series which includes Villa Victoria (2002), a platial suite constructed around neoclassical marble and bronze monument dedicated to Queen Victoria in Liverpool, and Villa Kaihoutei (2005), an 85-squere-meter room encasing a gazebo in Yokohama Chinatown. Each work creates an alternative and more physically immediate perspective on the respective monument by juxtaposing public icons with the immediate setting of the bedroom.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

project room: Ei Arakawa

Henning Bohl, Sergei Tcherepnin and Ei Arakawa, Reorienting Orientationalism,
New Directions (Haircolour) International Class, 2011

photo: Toshiya Suda, Courtesy of the artists and Tokyo Wonder Site, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

On Friday I went to TSW Shibuya to watch performance which turned out to be my favorite thing I saw in Tokyo in a while. In their performance, Ei Arakawa in close collaboration with composer Sergei Tcherepnin and Berlin based artist Henning Bohl using simple props examine the interplay of music and visual art. They share the same interest with modern avant-garde and several postwar movements in creating artistic environment engaging visitors in an open game in which borders between participants, viewers, objects and processes become diffused.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

exhibition: contemporary horror

Odhani Motohiko, New born, 'mouse', 2007
Just came back from the curatorial tour of 'Phantom-Limb', Odani Motohiko show at MAM and I have this lingering thought in my head that some of Odani works are echoing the visual language of Capuchins who were also sculpting from bones. But unlike the latter, Odani is using bones of animals reconstructed in plastic which makes it less of a horror and more of the beauty. Pity that not all the works on the exhibitions are of the quality. Japanese art world “golden boy” has already represented his country at Venice Biennale and has been the youngest artist so far having solo exhibition at MAM which is one of the biggest spaces artist can be asked to fill on his own and I would argue if Odani lived up to the challenge.

Capuchins Crypt, Rome and The Sedlec Ossuary, Kotna Hora

highlights of 2010

The 2010 saw some cross-media shows examining Japanese contemporary art in terms of its craft aesthetics - Noe-Orientalism from Japanese Contemporary art and its architectural aesthetics - Where is architecture? Seven Installations by Japanese architects. Among the galleries presenting contemporary art the most interesting shows were held in Taka Ishii Gallery of Naoya Hatakeyama who with a scientific zeal examines Tokyo cityscape, Hiromiyoshii which displayed maquettes by more than a dozen young architects, Mizuma Art Gallery which showed three-by-seven-meter painting of a mound of dead Japanese businessmen and office appliciencies by Aido Makoto and Edo-era inspired ink drawings by Akira Yamaguchi while at Misako&Rosen Yuki Okumura displayed videos of rakugo actor retelling a classical Japanese story.

Yuki Okumura, Anatomy Fiction, video, 2010
Privately run museums often stage city's best exhibitions and so the Mori Art Musuem held third of its triennial surveys of Japanese artist Roppongi Crossing 2010: Can there be art?, Watari Musuem of Contemporary Art celebrated its 20th year with solo exhibition of multimedia artist Tam Ochiai and architect Sou Fujimoto while Hara Museum of Contemporary Art presented first solo show in Japan of Chinese artist Yang Fudong.

Outside Tokyo to the West, Hiroshima City Musuem of Contemporary Art presented More of an Activity: The Artist as Choreographer and to the North, 21st Centuary Musuem of Contemporary Art Kanazawa held a larg exhibition of multimedia artist Tadasu Takamine which then traveled to Yokohama.

Tadasu Takamine
, Melody Cup, 2009

photo: Takezaki Hiroto

In addition to the proliferation of the architectural shows at home, it was a big year for Japanese architects abroad. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA were awarded the Pritzker, architectural Nobel. Sejima was also the first femal and Asian director of Venice Architectural Biennale, where Junya Ishigami received a Golden Lion.

The post is based on the Ashley Rawlings report for ArtAsiaPacific Almanac 2011