Art fair Tokyo 2021

Art fair Tokyo was held from March 18th to 21st this year. Last year, the fair was obliged to cancel due to the Covid-19, so that when the announcement of this year’s fair came out, it got an unexpected excitement. I have a huge appreciation to the organizer and participated galleries for their strong will to sustain the art fair in Tokyo even under such condition.

The site was full of cheerful people with smiling face and surrounded by a optimistic mood. Though we didn’t have exhibitors from abroad, the exhibition seemed to have the same magnitude as one before.

With an excuse of Covid-19, I hadn’t had virtually much access to art nowadays. Just walking through and hunting for my favorite kind of art works, I was filled with joy.

It is interesting to notice myself is that I was more attracted by 3D works. I guess that this reflects the current segregated living condition under the pandemic. I may be wanting to connect and be around by humanity.

The one I particularly fall in love with is the work of Hirosuke YABE. It is a kind of chainsaw art. Hirosuke creates wooden sculpture using a nata, a Japanese hatchet. His art pieces use a motif of animals, people and monsters like. They look funny, cute, sweet or sad. One finds a immediate connection with a character as if to connect with a pet.

Kunihiko NOHARA is another artist who I was fascinated with. He describes the emotions and the sceneries by using a metaphor of clouds and smokes.

Those emotions, such as a sense of freedom, a pleasure of time or desire definitely existed in a moment of time, but disappeared or got forgotten from memories. Kunihiko Nohara sees the importance of preserving such emotions as these are critical parts for being oneself.

The work of both Hirosuke Yabe and Kunihiko Nohara were actually exhibited in Art fair Tokyo 2019 but I didn’t notice it. I have been visiting Art fair Tokyo almost every year and I was always particular about my choices. It was interesting discovery about myself how the connection with art has been changed even in two years and how big the impact of the pandemic is.


渥美幸裕 Yukihiro Atsumi “Japanese Guitar” LIVE Broadcast

On going Covid-19 situation and the earthquake from last night that we felt in Tokyo and made us remided the horror from Tohoku earthquake occured in 2011.

Music helps us in such a difficult time. I was on the live show performed by Yukihiro, my favorite Japanese guitarist, earlier today. He is based in Kyoto and the live was broadcasted from the place near Kamogawa river in Kyoto. I wrote about him in my past blog, if you are interested in knowing about him more.

I am sorry that I am up this rather late, but you can still enjoy the live feeling in Youtube together with some scenery by the river.

Teppei Ikehira in Art Expo Malaysia

Teppei Ikehira who I introduced in takumist on Sep 9 participates in Art Expo MALAYSIA from Galerie Bruno Massa.

The expo will be held from Oct 12 to 14. If you happens to be in Kuala Lumpur, it is worth visiting to see his art pieces.

Art Expo Malaysia

Art Expo Malaysia

MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC)

Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah,

50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Teppei Ikehira 池平撤兵

Teppei Ikehira, artist’s official site

Wonderland: teamLab Planets TOKYO

Infinite crystal rays, Koi on water surface, floating balls, falling flowers from the sky.  Stray in urban Wonderland. Lie down on floor and look up flowers falling from the sky. Don’t worry if you feel getting lost. There is a way out!

ray of light3ray of light2

The Infinite Crystal Universe – A movie is here

ball

flower1

Flower3

Floating in the Falling Universe of Flowers – take a look at the dreamy flowers from here.

teamLab Planets TOKYO

Term:  July 7, 2018 – Fall 2020

Hours:  9:00 – 24:00 (Last admission 23:00)

Closing Day:  Thursday, September 6, 2018

Address:  teamLab Planets TOKYO, Toyosu 6-1-16, Koto-ku, Tokyo

Meeting with U-die part II

Marilyn u-die

At the last post, I introduced about a young Japanese artist, U-die. His 110cm wide 116 cm long art piece of ‘Marilyn Monroe’ is composed with delicate mosaic work. The mosaic is actually made by Manga with a story of Marilyn Monroe. U-die carefully puts a piece of cartoon together in a way that a part of illastrations structures Marilyn’s face parts and hairs.

Marilyn Monroe part

U-die, Saitama prefecture based artist, was interested in artwork with gimmickry like double image for some time, in which some small pieces of photos and illustrations are put together and form other larger artwork.

His interest was beyond just putting small mosaic together. He wanted to find a way to create a relation between the small pieces constructing the large image and the created image.

The idea of using a cartoon came from his hobby. He started using a frame of cartoon as a piece of mosaic.  With this, he can put an episode of portrayed person in the cartoon and make a connection to the portrait.

His first art piece that he created with this style was when he was a university student. He chose Osamu Tezuka (手塚治虫) as the first motif of portrait.  Osamu Tezuka is a legendary Japanese cartoonist, who created world well-known manga series such as Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Black Jack. U-die wanted to show his respect to the king of Manga if he is going to uses cartoon for the mosaic piece.

U-die creates a story of cartoon based on a true episode of the portrayed character. Then, he lets cartoon personalities talk about the portrayed character without mentioning the name. A reader will finally grasp who the cartoon personas are talking about after going through the story to the end. That is why the series of portrait including Marilyn Monroe is named as  “アレについてのムダ話 (An empty talk about that person)”. By now, the story of cartoon is only written in Japanese, but I hope one day U-die will create a work in English!

The creation process is quite elaborate. He firstly outputs outline and text of cartoon on paper or canvas, then colors on it by pencil, marker and acrylic painting.

You can see and purchase some of U-die’s work at Yoshiaki Inoue Gallery in Osaka. If you have a chance,  go and visit the gallery.

At the next post, I will introduce some more work of U-die, so stay tuned….

Meeting with U-die: a pleasure of discovery

My first encounter with a work of U-die, a young Japanese artist and painter, was at Art fair Tokyo in March.
Two portraits fearuting Marilyn Monroe and Lady Diana were hang next each other.

At the first glance, I thought these are just another portraits of iconic faces of famous people that many artists have created by now, including the famous silkscreen by Andy Walhol.  Then, my eyes gradually started recognising a very minute something filled in the painting.  I walked closer to the painting and realized that the detail of the lines and colours composing the portrait is actually made by ‘manga’ look-like drawing.  I still remember the pleasant surprise by saying aloud “WOW”.

I am going to write more about U-die in the next post. In the mean time, enjoy his great artwork and discovering what is hidden.

Marilyn u-die

Season’s greetings

May this season bring

lots of joy and love upon the family.

Stay Blessed.

邦楽2.0: “Hogaku 2.0” by Yukihiro ATSUMI

yukihiro-atsumi

“The groove of Japanese court music draws the shape of the figure eight “8”, while Jazz groove draws the shape of oval. Storing a sound and put it down.”

Yukihiro ATSUMI, a Japanese guitarist said.

Each type of music has a specific formula, kata (型)in Japanese. ATSUMI has moved his base to Kyoto from Tokyo three years ago, in order to learn and analyze such formula of Japanese court music and he there systemized next generation of Japanese music = “Hogaku 2.0” by hoping that it will be a good entry point for the classics.

The new method of Japanese music generated from “Hogaku 2.0″ is used in his recently released album called “Japanese Guitar Song Book”. The album includes cover songs from the period of Nara, Edo, Meiji, Showa, Heisei and newly composed by Atsumi himself, played only with guitar.

Covered songs collected in the album sound new and original, but nostalgic feeling is attached to it.

How do you find it?

If you are interested in the album, you can download the album from this link.

and

His Japanese guitar song book playlist is available on Youtube.

Portrait of ‘Emptiness’

When I saw the painting  I felt like there is another world expanding behind the yellow light and  I could go deeper into it.

img_8075
It was at Jun Fukukawa‘s solo exhibition held at Void+ in Aoyama from Oct 7 to 21.  In the gallery, he exhibited only a few selected pieces that portrayed his inspiration from the poem of FUJIWARA no Teika.  The tile of the exhibition was named out of the poem.

“見渡せば花ももみぢもなかりけり浦の苫屋の秋のゆふぐれ”

“There are no flowers or autumn leaves around, but heart moves with sadness when viewing small cottage bathed in autumn sunset”

The poem connotes that even after the beauty falls, there still some kind of beauty exists within the empty loneliness.

Fukukawa interpreted that this poem depicted ‘Shikisokuzeku (色即是空)’, which is a concept of Buddhism meaning that very form in reality is empty. Any forms or visible things won’t stay as they are and changing the form in every second, therefore, the situation that looks empty at one time is not really so. On the contrary, what looks empty is energy that is continuously creating those forms.

Fukukawa was interested in  Teika’s approach in his poem to capture this ’emptiness=eternal truth’ existing in the dualism of two completely different sceneries aesthetic and loneliness. He purposed  to capture the essence and visualize it in his picture by using a composition of small panels.

panels

198cm x 198 cm sized picture is composed by multiple panels painted firstly with acrylic paint and then repainted with a pastel crayon. Although each panel has a different tone and nuance of yellow colour, after combined, it casted one integrated warm glow. Its calm appearance made me feel embraced and relieved.

If I am asked what wabi-sabi means to me,  I would answer it is like a shadow in mind that one cannot get rid of (This is only my personal interpretation so that please do not take as a general definition). If the shadow is something what Fukukawa portrayed in his picture, I think it would be a great consolation.

img_8074

About Jun Fukukawa:

Painter. After graduated from Seijo University, he moved to France in 1991. He made his debut at salon saga découverte 94 at Paris art fair fiac, represented by galarie Alain Veinstein. After 7 years stay in Paris, he returned to Japan. Since then, he has continued his distinguished expression as a painter. He is also active as a saxophone player, mainly collaborating with upcoming Norwegian musicians of improvised music.

If you want to know more about his work, please visit Jun Fukukawa

蓬莱山:Hōrai-san – A Vision of Utopia

蓬莱山文様小袖

Via 着物作家の笑える日々

For celebrating festivities or a moment of wishing good fortune and be superstitious, we have a tradition in Japan to use crafts and wear things like Kimono, which certain patterns so called Kisshō-Monyō (吉祥文様) – auspicious omens motives are applied. Beginning of new year is one of such moments.

There are several motives inspired by living creatures, such as fishes, animals, birds, plants, flowers and fruits, or tools used in a festivities. Living creatures such as dragon, phenix, crane or pine, bamboo, plum and more, often symbolize long lives, good harvest, blessing of rains, eternal love. These pattens are used as a motif of porcelains, lacquer wears or clothes (becomes kimono and obi).

Monyou coral

Monyou Dragon fly

It is unfortunate that the custom has been disappearing and it is not at least something we proactively enjoy in our lives.  We only see it in the formalized traditional events without paying too much attentions.

There are many kinds of particular patterns used for celebrating festivities but I would like to pick up a pattern called Hōrai-mon (蓬莱文) this time.

The concept of Hōraisan(蓬莱山) came from China. From 2500 years ago, people believed that there is a utopia island in the eastern see of China. Hōrai mountain is on the island where a legendary wizard lives who is no aging nor death. Hōrai mountain was also believed as high so to extend to the heaven. At the bottom of the mountain, there is a river where dragons live. On the top of the mountain, phenix that can climb to the heaven lives by eating peaches and peers.

houraisan Taikan Yokoyama

Hōraisan by Taikan Yokohama

Interestingly, at the era of the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (秦始皇帝, BC259~), Hōraisan –  a utopia island was believed to be located where Japan is. The record said that the First Emperor of the Qin sent people to the island in far east to investigate the Utopia and there are more than 10 places that the Qin’s messengers visited in Japan from the north to the south.

Hōraisan that symbolize immortality evolved to be one of auspicious omens motives. Today we can find Hōraisan pattern in crafts, architectures, garden, paintings and fairly tales.

蓬莱図

Houraisan Kimono

Hōraisan-mon consists pine trees, cranes, turtles and plum blossoms – those are all considered as auspicious. Hōrai mountain is built on the carapace of a turtle. it is therefore, even if one tries to capture the Utopia, it runs away quickly so that one can never be able to acquire it.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s Penglai/Hōrai at Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2015

In the centre pond of Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art / KINARE, a huge mountain was exhibited till September 27, 2015.

This mountain is the artwork, Penglai / Hōrai, by Cai Guo-Qiang (蔡國強),  an internationally acclaimed Chinese comtemporary artist. You may know him as a Creative director for the opening and closing ceremony of Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The theme of this dynamic installation is, as you can guess from the title of the artwork – Penglai/Hōrai, the legendary utopia island.

It is only a month from now to unveil the impressive solo exhibition “Cai Guo-Qiang : Penglai/Horai”.

Horaisan by Cai Guo-Qiang

Cali expressed humour and ironies in this installation by responding the recent source of tension around ‘islands’ among countries in East Asia. From the front, the island is covered by rich greenery trees and thousands of straw-made birds and objects are laid around the island. But going around the back,  one realizes that the island is just like a standing signboard.

Behind the Utopia

People dream of a Utopia. It is the same now as of old.  But if we are tenacious in our pursuit of capturing it, we will only get lost. Remember! a Utopia is on the carapace of a turtle! It just agilely escape and you may lose even a illusion of Utopia completely from your mind.