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.

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….