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Picks :
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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.

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U-35 Architects Exhibition
19 - 29 October 2018
Umekita Ship Hall
(Osaka)
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A showcase for up-and-coming architects under age 35 that aims to offer the public a taste of architecture to come. In its ninth iteration this year, the event added a recommendation system to its usual open call for submissions, bringing in an infusion of idiosyncratic young talent and producing some vigorous discussions.
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Word-gazing and traveling with words - Landscapes with modern and classical poetry
7 August - 21 October 2018
Art Museum & Library, Ota
(Gunma)
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Volume 2 in a series of exhibitions on the theme of "Books and Arts," a concept that reflects the unique architecture of a facility that combines an art museum and library. The art museum section is composed of three white boxes at different heights, in each of which exhibits juxtaposed the works of poets, graphic designers, and painters. In displaying various means of giving visual form to the world of words, the show also put a strong emphasis on work associated with the city of Ota and environs.
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Kosugi+Ando: I WANT YOU

5 - 20 October 2018
galerie 16
(Kyoto)
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Consisting of Mihoko Kosugi and Yasuhiko Ando, this collaborative unit has been creating installations since the 1990s that use computer-controlled images and devices to deliver poetic critiques of relations between technology and contemporary society. This one revolved around the catchphrase I WANT YOU that first appeared on U.S. Army posters during World War I. Various "devices of desire” parodied the phrase's application to such diverse social phenomena as love songs and the recruiting ads for corporations and entertainment companies.
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Herbie Yamaguchi: Atlas of the Time
17 October - 30 November 2018
Kiyoyuki Kuwabara AG
(Tokyo)
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Lining the gallery walls were 21 photo frames, each containing a pair of prints that were "analogues" in the sense of depicting similar figures. One pair, for example, showed stone steps in Kyoto and Morocco respectively. The analogue theme is a simple concept that photographer Yamaguchi has attacked with great zest, searching out and extracting these pairs of linked images from a vast store of photos.
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Misato Kuroda: Nude Beauty
5 - 21 October 2018
Jimbocho Garou
(Tokyo)
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Since last year Kuroda has conducted six nude photo sessions with models she recruited via social network services. This exhibition consisted of 600 prints, all 11 x 11 cm, of iPhone snapshots of 19 different women. Kuroda does not go out of her way to emphasize the erotic quality of her nudes, nor does she treat them as objects to be realistically portrayed. Rather, she scrupulously guides the line of sight to the physicality of the bodies of real women not unlike herself.
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Tomoko Sawada & Ayano Sudo: SELF/OTHERS
16 October - 22 November 2018
Canon Gallery S
(Tokyo)
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A joint show by two photographers -- Sawada, born in Kobe in 1977, and Sudo, born in Osaka in 1986 -- who share a concern with self-portraiture. Their approaches, however, could be seen as opposite. Sawada explores how changes in her outward appearance provoke different reactions from society: using the "self" to expose the nature of "others." Sudo, on the other hand, uses "others" as a medium for probing the depths of her inner "self."
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Naoki Fuse: Dead Man Walking
20 October - 2 November 2018
Zen Foto Gallery
(Tokyo)
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Seemingly picked at random, an accumulation of snapshots taken by Fuse over the past decade covered the gallery walls. One section consisted of photocopies of monochrome images shot after Fuse nearly died of a heart attack in 2016. Before he had fully recovered, he says, he rode aimlessly around on trains, snapping scenes from the window as he passed by. These photos from the "world of the dead" are among Fuse's most intriguing to date.
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The Flow of Time
20 - 27 October 2018
Polygon Aoyama
(Tokyo)
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The triumphal homecoming of an installation for the Seiko watch company's Grand Seiko brand, introduced at Milan Design Week this past April. The centerpiece was a new line of "Spring Drive" watches that integrate the virtues of mechanical and quartz timepieces. Such attributes as the smooth movement of the second hand and the generation of a slight electric current by the mainspring inspired some artful expressions of "the flow of time" by the installation's creators.
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Ai Iwane: KIPUKA

24 October - 6 November 2018

Nikon Salon
(Tokyo)
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Since 2006 photographer Iwane has devoted herself to chronicling the Japanese (Nikkei) immigrant culture of Hawaii, particularly its import of the Bon Dance tradition. She learned that the first Bon Dance took place in the islands in 1914, at Mantokuji temple in Maui, and that the tune was "Fukushima Ondo," which originates in Soma, a city that was irradiated in 2011 by the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This exhibition featured images comparing the Fukushima Bon Dance with those in various parts of Hawaii.
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Chikako Yamashiro: And I Go through You
12 - 13 October 20
Kyoto Art Center
(Kyoto)
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How does one realize a world created from video imagery in live performance so that it resonates with the bodies of the audience in the here and now? That is an underlying theme of Yamashiro's past work on the preservation of memories of the Battle of Okinawa, her home island. In this new performance piece she enlists the help of a human beatbox artist, a rapper, a DJ, and various extras in her effort to "pass on memories and share them with others," something she appears to have accomplished with this younger generation of artists.
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