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VillaTokyo

 

Where Monday is on Sunday

11-18 November 2011

 


 
 

New Tokyo Contemporaries

Masayoshi Hanawa

Takahiro Iwasaki

Koki Tanaka

Mami Kosemura

Shimon Minamikawa

Chim Pom

Soju Tao


 


 
Zenshi

Masayoshi Hanawa, Installation view : « Haanwander-Liberation » Zenshi, 2011.
Courtesy Zenshi, Tokyo

Zenshi

Masayoshi Hanawa

Frequently described as psychedelic, Hanawa’s heavily worked drawings and colorful paintings, which have an international following, depict monsters of various colors, shapes, and sizes. Combining a stylistic approach that evokes Western folk and outsider art with the long-standing obsession in Japanese manga with spirits and ghosts, Hanawa’s works confront its viewers with pop-like representations of the monstrous. His strangely buoyant renderings composed of seemingly smoke-induced and overwrought line work and fields of acid neon colors suggest that so-called monsters are not inherently monstrous but rather aspects of ordinary life colored by the viewer’s own psychological conditions and projections.



 


 
Arataniurano

Takahiro Iwasaki, Installation view , « Phenotypic Remodeling » Arataniurano, 2010.
Courtesy Arataniurano, Tokyo

Arataniurano

Takahiro Iwasaki

Frequently so slight as to be initially overlooked, Iwasaki’s miniature sculptures flower unexpectedly out of the quotidian. Typically, what appears at first glance in Iwasaki’s installation to be a room strewn with trash reveals itself upon closer inspection as a microscopic model of the contemporary landscape. Both the material and subject of these miniature models highlight the ubiquitous presence of visual signs and objects that we unconsciously ignore in our daily lives. Paper packaging for a straw from McDonald’s has been carefully and transformed into a miniature billboard. Mechanical cranes, carefully woven out of bookmarks, emerge from paperbacks on a bookshelf. Heaps of trash covered with the scavenger-deterring blue nylon net seen on every street in Tokyo, are turned into mountains, complete with pylons sculpted out of unraveled sections of the net at the town’s periphery. The fragility and slightness of Iwasaki’s miniatures at once prescribes a new, closer, and slower way of looking and remind viewers that the objects that populate our surrounding are also ephemeral.



 


 
Aoyama Meguro

Koki Tanaka, A haircut by 9 hairdressers at once (second attempt), 2010
Courtesy Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo

Aoyama Meguro

Koki Tanaka

Working in a variety of media including drawing, photography, and video, Koki Tanaka uses vernacular materials to critically and humorous explore the everyday. Despite being discarded and forgotten, the stuff of the everyday, his works suggest, informs our most basic assumptions and values. A 2011 video piece, ‘Someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure,’ for example, documents the artist at a Los Angeles flea market as he attempts to sell palm fronds, which one can easily find on the street. As the title indicates, Tanaka highlights how value is established arbitrarily by performing the absurd act of selling trash. Selling what is commonly available for profit also recalls the fine art of hustling or ‘making a dollar out of fifteen cents.’ The strategy of hustling or ‘making do’ with available materials is anther theme that runs through Tanaka’s Works. In the series ‘A painting to public,’ (2011), he transformed public transit buses in Los Angeles and San Francisco into exhibition devices by mounting a painting on a bicycle, then placing the bicycle on the bike racks on the front of the bus, as many commuters do daily. By appropriating a public transportation system to show his artworks, Tanaka characteristically employs humble means to pose complex questions regarding the exclusivity of conventional exhibition spaces and the relationship between art and the public.



 


 
Yuka Sasahara Gallery

Mami Kosemura, Decaying, 2001.Courtesy Yuka Sasahara Gallery, Tokyo

Mami Kosemura

Originally trained as a painter, Mami Kosemura creates video and installation works that draw from and offer critical reconsiderations of European masterwork paintings and traditional Japanese paintings. She recreates scenes, which she calls ‘ideal landscapes,’ based, for example on the still life paintings of Caravaggio or Zubarán, photographs them digitally over a period of time and edits them together to create time lapse videos. In many cases, Kosemura shows the resulting footage in the image’s original context, e.g. framed as a painting or shown on a traditional Japanese screen. By staging these recreations and bringing originally still images into motion, she brings attention to what has been elided to make the idealized images possible. Uncannily revealing what has been hidden into light, her images highlight the hidden representational codes that give paintings and motion pictures their authority and allow them to function as idéals



 


 
Misako & Rosen

Shimon Minamikawa, Wild haïr, Erika, Green Yellow, 2010
Courtesy Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

Misako & Rosen

Shimon Minamikawa

The subject of Shimon Minamikawa’s paintings, which variously take up landscapes, portraiture, and abstraction, is nothing less than painting’s role in the world today. He employs the vernaculars of design and illustration against the historical weight of painting to create effects of detachment and lightness, which are supported by their apparently haste execution. The slightness and frailty of his canvases, thinly painted wet on wet, refuse to prop up meaning. As Minamikawa lets drips fall from his brushstrokes, he drains his images of their substance. His paintings explore the medium’s failure to compete against mass and digital media as a visual sign while also addressing the ways in which the contemporary visual environment flattens and draws equivalences between disparate images.



 


 
Mujin-to Production

Chim Pom, Black of death (abobe 109, Shibuya, Tokyo), 2007
Courtesy Mujin-to Production

Mujin-to Production

Chim Pom

Formed in August 2005, Chim Pom is a Tokyo-based art collective comprising six members: Ellie, Ryuta Ushiro, Yasutaka Hayashi, Masataka Okada, Toshinori Mizuno and Motomu Inaoka. Of late, the collective, which is known for its irreverent works, has gained much media attention for its addition of a very convincingly painted panel representing the recently melted down nuclear power reactors in Fukushima to Taro Okamoto’s giant Myth of Tomorrow (1968-9) mural depicting an atomic blast in Shibuya station. In ‘Black of Death’ (2007,2008), the collective drove around Tokyo landmarks such as 109, a popular shopping mall among ‘gals,’ and the National Diet Building, with a swarm of crows, which they ingeniously hailed with a stuffed crow and a recording of crowing noises played through a bullhorn, flying above them. While keeping its political positioning ambiguous, the collective has continually used black humor and a talent for creating buzz to insist on reinserting the Real, which is screened out to maintain the normalcyof daily life, into the everyday.



 


 
Take Ninagawa

Soju Tao, Cat, 2011. Courtesy the artist and Take Ninagawa, Tokyo

Take Ninagawa

Soju Tao

Educated in London and based in Tokyo, Soju Tao works in various media including drawing, painting, and music. His works draw from Pop Art aesthetics and aspects of Japanese music and visual culture. The visual language of Japanese comics and illustration, particularly those in the hetauma [good-bad], or faux-naif, tradition inform hisformal approach. The recurring characters featured in his works recalls the corporate and institutional deployment of cute characters to sublimate serious issues frequently seen in Japanese culture. Using multiple alter-egos such as that of an imaginary production company ‘Okame Pro,’ which hasa roster of multiple artists – all of whose works Tao creates – and eschewing stylistic consistency, Tao raises questions regarding authorship and artistic production.