artscape Japan
artscape Japanese site
Monthly Mail Contact Us
HOME FOCUS  PICKS MUSEUM DB ABOUT
image
image
image HOME > PICKS
image
image
Picks :
image

Picks is a monthly sampling of Japan's art scene, offering commentary by a variety of reviewers about current or recent exhibitions at museums and galleries around the country.

Note: With the relaxation of the government's emergency measures to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, most museums in Japan have reopened, but many still require reservations. If you are planning a visit, please check the venue's website beforehand.

image
image image 1 July 2021
| 1 | 2 |
image
image
image
image
image
Shiriagari-san, Hokusai-san: Show Time, with a Giggle!
20 April - 10 July 2021
The Sumida Hokusai Museum
(Tokyo)
image
A pairing of ukiyo-e by the legendary Katsushika Hokusai with parodies of same by contemporary artist and cartoonist Kotobuki Shiriagari, known for his lightly absurdist touch. Boasting 160 works in all, the show is an excellent opportunity to appreciate the vast range of Hokusai's art, as well as to view his world from Shiriagari's puckish perspective. There are laughs aplenty, and not only courtesy of Shiriagari -- Hokusai himself was a humorist with a pronounced mischievous streak.
image
image
image
image
image
Sports Graphic Exhibition
8 June - 7 July 2021
Ginza Graphic Gallery (ggg)
(Tokyo)
image
A presentation of some 120 sports-related graphic works. Says the gallery: "How have Japan's leading graphic designers used the limited space offered by a single poster sheet to convey elation and impact evoking the sensation of movement, beauty in composition, fresh ideas, and critical humor? Focusing on outstanding works from the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympic Games to the present day, this exhibition explores the intentions of the artists and the background of the times to show how the unscripted drama of sports was captured on paper."
image
image
image
image
image
image
image

Tetsuya Noguchi: This Is Not a Samurai

3 July - 5 September 2021
Gunma Museum of Art, Tatebayashi
(Gunma)
image
Noguchi currently enjoys international cachet for the idiosyncratic worldview expressed in his miniature sculptures of men in armor -- notably medieval Japanese armor. His subjects appear to be samurai warriors, but they stare at pencils, or float through the air, or wear helmets emblazoned with contemporary fashion logos. Though amusing at first glance, there is something melancholy about these figures. If anything, they are Noguchi's portrayals of the modern Everyman, who must find a way to negotiate an ever-changing world by embracing both joy and suffering at the same time.
image
image
image
image
image
As if Listening: Komako Sakai
10 April - 4 July 2021
Play! Museum
(Tokyo)
image
Komako Sakai (b. 1966) has authored over 20 picture books, many of them prizewinners, but this is her first solo exhibition in a museum. Designed by the artist to resemble her mountain residence and studio, the space is filled with sounds and images recorded by Sakai around her home, as well as with household toys and knickknacks. Some 250 original drawings of varying shapes and sizes are displayed in cedar-wood frames and cases amid which viewers can stroll as if through a forest. One surprise is to discover that Sakai works not only on drawing paper but on materials like cardboard as well.
image
image
image
image
image
Origami Architecture
9 April - 3 June 2021
Gallery A4
(Tokyo)
image
Subtitled "Fold the World's Modern Architecture from a Piece of Paper," this show presented miniature replicas of some 80 world-famous structures -- all in the form of origami. Architect Masahiro Chatani (1934-2008) introduced the concept and methodology of "origamic architecture" in 1981. Buildings are essentially abstract structures that cannot be entirely replicated through the medium of folded paper, so the challenge is to retain the structure's most fundamental and distinguishing elements -- simplifying it without losing its identity.
image
image
image
Keiko Masumoto: Blue Birds / Blue Ceramics
6 May - 25 June 2021
Wacoal Study Hall, Kyoto
(Kyoto)
image
Motifs ranging from birds, pine trees, deer, and octopi to pagodas, haniwa figurines, and even space shuttles protrude from the surface of ceramic vessels. Ceramist Masumoto (b. 1982) liberates these normally flat-painted ornaments from the body of the vessel, disrupting conventional hierarchies of sculpture vs. craft, function vs. decoration, body vs. accessory. To this complex interplay between two and three dimensions she adds a touch of humor, creating works of sublime craftsmanship that have the friendly accessibility of pop-up picture books.
image
image
image
image
image
image

Ryuichi Ishikawa: The Inside of Life

20 March - 18 April 2021

SAI
(Tokyo)
image
For the past five years or so, photographer Ishikawa (b. 1984) has been teaming up with survival climber Bunsho Hattori, trekking in mountains with minimal equipment and living off the land. Taken with the strange beauty of the flesh and innards of the creatures they hunted, he began photographing the titular series, 42 prints of which were displayed in this solo show at SAI, a new gallery in Shibuya's Miyashita Park.
image
image
image
urauny: urauny dinner
10 April - 5 May 2021
Whitehouse
(Tokyo)
image
Another imponderable installation by urauny, an enigmatic artist of unknown gender, age, and nationality. As suggested by the "dinner" of the title, the gallery was set up as a restaurant open to four customers in one-hour segments, by reservation only. No conversation was permitted. The "food" served by the silent staff (the artist, perhaps?) was revealed, after the fact, to consist of preparations of organic, all-natural cosmetics. Though edible, the dishes were not (in this reviewer's opinion) very palatable. Confronting this repast was to confront the world outside us, and the reality that for the duration of our lives, we are constantly being eroded from within and digested from without.
image
image
Aya Fujioka: Trajectory of Flowers
6 - 30 May 2021
Fugensha
(Tokyo)
image
To prepare for this solo exhibition, photographer Fujioka reviewed her portfolio and noticed that she had taken a lot of pictures of flowers. In many cases the flowers were not her intended subject, but it struck her that something could be learned from their frequent, if inadvertent, appearance in her work. In the accompanying text she muses, "Perhaps flowers function as a metaphor for life that helps me affirm my own existence." Indeed, these images exude a unique aura that could be described as the "flower" of Fujioka herself.
image
image
image
Daisuke Morishita: Dance with Blanks
16 April - 5 June 2021
PGI
(Tokyo)
image
There are all kinds of "blanks": the dark shadow of something placed in front of the camera lens; the sky; a wall; a hole; objects popping up in unexpected places. As a concept, blanks may seem to resemble the Buddhist idea of emptiness, but photographer Morishita prefers to leave the word undefined, or rather, let it be defined by the many examples he enjoys finding. This loose approach worked well in his recent solo show at PGI. That said, a viewer looking for some sort of unifying message in these photos would be disappointed. Every image is well thought out, but the photographer doesn't seem to be taking them too seriously.
image
image
| 1 | 2 |
image
image
image
Recent Articles
FOCUS
The Shape of Things Gone By: A Career-Spanning Exhibition of Miyako Ishiuchi
Colin Smith
1 July 2021
FOCUS
Verdant Escapes from the Urban Bustle: A Look at the Rooftop Gardens of Tokyo
James Lambiasi
1 July 2021
HERE/THERE
A Pop-Surrealist for the Ages: Tiger Tateishi at the Chiba City Museum of Art
Alan Gleason
1 July 2021
PICKS
Takahata Isao: A Legend in Japanese Animation
1 July 2021
FOCUS
Flashing Style, Celebrating Beauty: Edo-Period Cultural Icons
J.M. Hammond
1 June 2021
FOCUS
Where Are We Now? Motoyuki Shitamichi and Sachiko Kazama's TCAA Exhibition
Jennifer Pastore
1 June 2021
HERE/THERE
Don't Wait to Exhale: Artists' Breath at the Ichihara Lakeside Museum
Alan Gleason
1 June 2021
PICKS
Ukiyoe that Challenges: Kuniyoshi, Yoshitoshi... and More!
1 June 2021
>> Back Issues
image
image
THIS IS MECENAT 2020
ggg ddd CCGA DNP Museum Lab DNP Kyoto Uzumasa Cultural Heritage Gallery Maison des Musées du Monde
DNP Art Communications ©1996- DAI NIPPON PRINTING Co., Ltd.
artscape is the registered trademark of DAI NIPPON PRINTING Co., Ltd.