(this posting is still in process) Here, I am making a list of some of the interesting exhibitions and work that I’ve seen. The Tokyo National Library is just around the corner from my apartment and they have a wonderful little gallery. They happened to be showing the famous Chōjū-giga or known in English as the Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and is attributed to Toba Sōjō. This work is considered to be the beginnings of manga.The drawing is breathtakingly simple and gorgeous! The exhibition was really well put together with contemporary manga and other books and illustrations accompanying the scrolls. Something that fascinated me was to see some of the very worm-eaten books- their tracks looked like a calligraphy of absence accompanying the text.Taking photos of work in the exhibition was not allowed, but I will include an image of a similar book.
One of the very first exhibitions that I saw was, Art and Poetry, Waka inspired Masterpieces. Waka is a Japanese poetic form of 31 syllables and is closely linked to Japanese art. The exhibition was my first experience with this period and this type of art. I was inspired by the mix of text and image and how one intertwines with the other.
Yayoi Kusama’s work is very present in museum collections. I saw two of her pumpkin sculptures outdoors in Naushima (please view an earlier posting, Spot Crazy or Mizu Tama). The Benesse House Museum on the island of Naushima was well worth the visit. Taking photos was not permitted, so sorry, this time I obeyed!
I also enjoyed walking under Louise Bourgeois’s giant spider on my way to the subway.
Paul and I were invited by Yoshiaki Kaihatsu to visit an outdoor art exhibition that he was part of, held earlier this spring in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture. The work was outstanding, but for our enjoyment, could have really used some English translations. If it weren’t for Yoshiaki kindly taking the time to show us around, we would have missed a lot of really interesting work. Kaihatsu spent several months in Ichihara working with highschool students making scarecrows that were installed at all the train stations of villages participating in the event. He also installed several poems in English and Japanese in some of the train cars. He spent everyday for the duration of the event dressed in a moles costume inviting people into his underground television studio for interviews. A lot of fun and very engaging. Everyone seemed to be really enjoying, Large House, by Shinji Ohmaki. The most intriguing section of this completely dark house interior was this work which I have poorly and illegitimately documented – in a stage-like setting, a tiny ball of dry ice fell periodically from the ceiling capturing a speck of light, sometimes dropping as far as the floor, sometimes bursting in mid air- absolutely hypnotic. The Cold Storage room was the principal’s office in a school that is closing (the current story of decreasing population in rural areas) that was cooled to something like minus 25 ( I forget just how cold – but it was cold even for hardy Canadians like us). A beautiful idea and production.
This is a video of the installation at Ichihara Artmix by Mischa Kimaball.Speed-space-speech installation
Other work that I enjoyed, but do not have images for are Black Death and 100 Chants, videos of political and poetic performances by Chim Pom, seen at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. In Black Death, the camera follows one of the groups’ 5 members on a motorcycle as she rides through Shinjuku, Tokyo, broadcasting the amplified sound of a crow – and a very large murder of crows in chase. In 100 chants, a circle of young people huddle and shout out things they want to see happen soon in Fukushima. Very inspiring. I also enjoyed Tokujin Yoshioka’s exhibition, Crystalize at The MOT Museum and especially, Pane, a honey-comb paper chair, materially not unlike the work of the popular Chinese artist, Li Hongbo. Also from the MOT (Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo) was the work of identical twin artists, Akiko and Masako Takada from the exhibition Fragments, Incomplete Beginnings. Some work I found interesting at the Hiroshima Museum: an installation of clay sitting outside since 1988, an exhibit by the Bow Wow collective at the Hiroshima Museum, the installation of a collection of paintings at the Hiroshima Museum all hanging horizontally to create a horizon line and an inflatable sculpture at Higure Artist-run space in Yanaka, Tokyo.(sorry I don’t know the name of the artist)