Saturday, April 2, 2011


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.

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