Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on March 2014
The Butterflies and the Splendid Girls in Mt. Fuji (2011) by Rin Nadeshico. Nadeshico’s art walks the surprisingly fine line between strong, independent female imagery and otaku “pervert-fodder” bordering on the pedophiliac.
Tokyo’s big “art heart” takes a mighty beat this weekend as Tokyo Art Fair sets up its stall once again at Tokyo International Forum for the annual event that brings together most of the important local galleries, plus a few from overseas.
The three-day event, which runs over this weekend, is guaranteed to whet the appetite of art fans and point to some of the main trends for the year ahead, although these might be hard to see among all the variety. With around 100 galleries participating, expect to be bombarded with all kinds of art, from antiques to avant-garde, abstract to figurative, domestic to exotic.
With international currencies—and other reserves of value like gold and bitcoin—fluctuating wildly, now may be the ideal time to hedge by investing in a bit of quality art, with the added bonus that it’ll brighten up your home. So, with decorative and mercenary motives in mind, here are my picks of what to seek out and haggle over—if it hasn’t been “red-dotted” by the time you get there!
March 7-March 9. See details.
Think Deeply About (2013) by Kazuki Takamatsu. Using countless transparent layers of gouache, Takamatsu builds up ghostly and ethereal images that mix elements of the cute with the macabre.
Red Fuji—Birdollies (2013) by Kenji Shimizu. Updating nihonga for the Twitter and anime generation, Shimizu keeps the iconic elements from the past—Mt. Fuji rearing up above the clouds—but gives the old cliché a new burst of life with his “bird dollies” and confectionary colors.
Pussy Whipped (2013) by Colin Christian. British artist Christian’s spiritual homeland is clearly Japan and quite possibly the Korova Milkbar from Clockwork Orange. His female figures and masks, made mainly of silicone, are replete with anime and pop cultural references.
Goldfish Bowl (2013) by Miki Kariya. Kariya’s melodic composition with its vivid colors evokes the artistry of Henri Matisse.
Water on a Mannequin (2011) by Korehiko Hino. What would an art show be without pieces that make you scratch your head and think, “WTF?” Tokyo Art Fair is sure to have its fair share of these, like this rather disturbing masterpiece by Hino. Once seen, it can never be unseen!
Nagi (2011) by Maako Kido. Oil and water are said not to mix. Don’t tell Kido, who uses oil paints to capture the complexities of water. Her rippling lines also explore the human form. David Hockney would be impressed.