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 exhibitions at museums and galleries in recent weeks, with an emphasis on contemporary art by young artists.

image
image image 1 March 2018
| 1 | 2 |
image
image
image
image
image
Kumagai Morikazu: The Joy of Life
1 December 2017 - 21 March 2018
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
(Tokyo)
image

Kumagai (1880-1977) is popular for his simple, subdued colors and forms. His early work, however, was darker both in tone and theme -- even death made an occasional appearance. He did not begin using his trademark reddish-brown outlines until around 1930, and his flat color planes appeared in the 1940s, when he was already over 60. In other words, the artist Kumagai of popular imagination did not emerge until he was nearly 70. This reviewer for one was less captivated by his later work than by those earlier, darker efforts.

image
image
image
image
image
Greenland by Fujiko & Ukichiro Nakaya
22 December 2017 - 4 March 2018
Ginza Maison Hermès Le Forum
(Tokyo)
image

An exhibition featuring the work of fog sculptor Fujiko Nakaya and her late father Ukichiro Nakaya, a scientist and essayist known for his research on snow. Since the debut of Fujiko's first fog sculpture at the Osaka Expo in 1970, she has showcased this unique medium around the world for nearly a half-century. Her m.o. is to release fog at specific intervals in the gallery. There is something a little radical, even violent, in this spewing of white vapor into a space ordinarily occupied by works of art.

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
Tanikawa Shuntaro

13 January - 25 March 2018

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery
(Tokyo)
image

A multimedia retrospective of the protean poet's vast oeuvre, extending from words to objects and images. Much of the gallery space is devoted to a series of photos by Tanikawa (b. 1931) collected in SOLO, a book issued by Daguerreo Publishing in 1982. The display eloquently testifies to the value Tanikawa himself placed on his highly personal approach to photography. Having long suspected that the poet was probably a very good photographer, this reviewer was especially happy to see that hunch borne out.

image
image
image
image
image
Things we have to treasure, things we have to share: Selected works by Haga Hideo

4 January - 31 March 2018

Photo History Museum FujiFilm Square
(Tokyo)

image
Born in 1921, Haga is one of the eldest active photographers on the planet. This show boasts a selection of his representative works in the field of folklore photography, a specialty he has pursued since the 1950s. Divided into three categories -- festivals, life ceremonies, rice-farming rituals -- these 29 images bring Haga's approach into sharp relief. What makes him so effective as a folklore photographer is his winning combination of professional objectivity as a compiler of ethnographic data and delighted participation in the rituals he chronicles.
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
Naotaka Hirota: F Era
5 January - 31 March 2018
Nikon Museum
(Tokyo)
image
Hirota (b. 1935) may be Japan's premier train photographer. The "F" in the title refers to the Nikon F, his tool of choice since 1961, when he began using it to shoot steam locomotives, particularly on the northern island of Hokkaido. Compared to the work from Hirota's "F era," train shots taken with digital cameras certainly benefit from the fruits of technological progress, but they seem to be missing something fundamental. Perhaps this is a genre on the verge of a return to its roots.
image
image
image
image
image
Kikuji Kawada: Los Caprichos -Instagraphy- 2017

12 January - 3 March 2018

PGI
(Tokyo)
image
Named after Goya's legendary series of etchings, "Los Caprichos" is a photo series produced by Kawada between the late 1960s and early 1980s. With new images making up a third of the 89 on display, this is not so much a retrospective of a past project as it is a reconstitution. Light and breezy yet sharply ironic, the mood of Kawada's work in "Los Caprichos" is something one hopes the photographer will continue to explore and expand on in the future.
image
image
image
image
image
Yuko Mohri: Grey Skies
2 December 2017 - 28 January 2018
Fujisawa City Art Space
(Kanagawa)
image
Fujisawa native Mohri has garnered considerable attention lately for her installations. Here, one room features a translucent mug that tips automatically while a video of waves lapping the seashore plays across it; the effect evokes someone downing a foaming head of beer. In the installation Parade, musical instruments and other objects discarded by schools are roused to action by the music of Erik Satie. Yet another gallery is filled with intriguing tubular gadgets inspired by the measures taken to contain water leakage at subway stations.
image
image
image
Ukiyo-e of the Late Edo and Meiji Periods
5 January - 25 February 2018
Ota Memorial Museum of Art
(Tokyo)
image
Ukiyo-e are generally thought of as a popular art form of the Edo period (1603-1867), but they were still being turned out in great number during the Meiji period (1868-1912). Being a time of relative peace and stability, the Edo era mostly spawned genre pictures of actors, courtesans, scenic spots, and erotica. With the national turmoil stirred up by the arrival of Perry's "black ships" and the end of the Shogunate, however, motifs shifted to foreigners in open ports like Yokohama, railroads, city buildings and streetscapes, and war. The newer ukiyo-e also adopted the Western techniques of shading and perspective.
image
image
Constellation of Six
5 - 23 January 2018
Ginza Nikon Salon
(Tokyo)
image
Nikon celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Ginza location with a group show featuring 33 works by six photographic luminaries, all born between 1934 and 1951: Masaaki Yamamura, Masahisa Fukase, Kenshichi Heshiki, Kiyoshi Suzuki, Tahara Keiichi, and Hiroshi Yamazaki. The gallery was filled with a vibrant tension, with every print on the wall radiating its own distinct energy.
image
image
image
Yoshihiko Ueda: Apple Tree
2 December 2017 - 13 January 2018

Tomio Koyama Gallery
(Tokyo)

image
On a trip to Gunma Prefecture in November 2013, Ueda happened to see a tree full of ripe apples from his car window. The image so inspired him that he came back to photograph the same tree in the same season, yielding the "Apple Tree" series on display here. Ueda has always given much thought to how best to express his own physical and psychological experiences through the medium of the photograph. The intensity of his concern occasionally results in conceptual wheel-spinning, but in these down-to-earth images theme and technique are perfectly blended. (See this month's Focus for a review of a current Ueda exhibition.)
image
image
| 1 | 2 |
image
image
image
Recent Articles
FOCUS
Art of the Trowel: Architectural Detail Beautifully Preserved in Tottori
Alice Gordenker
2 July 2018
FOCUS
Discovering Timelessness: Tracing the History of Japanese Architecture
James Lambiasi
2 July 2018
HERE/THERE
Young Moderns: Taisho-Era Design at the Hibiya Library & Museum
Alan Gleason
2 July 2018
PICKS
Suda Yoshihiro: Mite Clematis
2 July 2018
FOCUS
Drunk on Beauty: Sake Vessels at the Seikado Bunko Art Museum
J.M. Hammond
1 June 2018
FOCUS
Timeless Emanations: The Supple Spontaneity of Bamboo, at Musée Tomo
Susan Rogers Chikuba
1 June 2018
HERE/THERE
Music of the Spheres: Minoru Nomata at Sagacho Archives
Alan Gleason
1 June 2018
PICKS
Seung-woo Yang: End of the Line - Kotobukicho
1 June 2018
>> Back Issues
image
image
THIS IS MECENAT 2017
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.