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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘Japanese contemporary art’

Top 20 Asian artists June 2010: Art Radar Asia’s most-searched artists

Posted by artradar on July 26, 2010


TOP ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS

In January this year, we published the article, “Top 17 Asian artists 2009: Art Radar’s most-searched artists, listing Art Radar Asia‘s most searched for artists to the end of 2009. This was so popular with our readers that we have decided to publish these results again. This list below highlights artists searched for between 30 June 2009 to 30 June 2010.

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami

Art Radar Asia receives an average of 27,000 page views a month. Our readers come to us in various ways: via links from other websites, from Twitter, facebook and other social media, from our email newsletter, from word of mouth referrals and, of course, via search engines.

Many readers find us by typing a specific artist name into Google or another search engine and finding a story written or image published by Art Radar Asia. Our analytics package tracks these search terms for us and we thought you might be interested in this data, too. The search terms used by readers when finding each artist are varied. For example, common search terms recorded for Japanese artist Takashi Murakami included: “takashi murakami”, “murakami”, “murakami takashi”, “takashi murakami art” and “takeshi murakami”.

Art Radar Asia‘s 20 most searched artists – the list

We can’t claim that this list is a reliable proxy for the most-searched Asian artists on the Internet overall (take a look at our notes at the bottom of this article). However, we do think the list throws up some fascinating data, particularly when compared with the 2009 results.

  1. Takashi Murakami – male Japanese anime painter and sculptor – 36,086  searches (34,000, December 2009)
  2. Shirin Neshat – female Iranian photographer – 4,532 searches (2,200, December 2009)
  3. Anish Kapoor – male British-Indian sculptor – 4,246 searches (3,500, December 2009)
  4. Marina Abramović – female New York-based Serbian performance artist – 3,092 searches (not listed, December 2009)
  5. Yoshitaka Amano – male Japanese anime artist – 829 searches (460, December 2009)
  6. Cao Fei – female Chinese photographer and new media artist – 672 searches
  7. Terence Koh – male Canadian-Chinese photographer, installation and multimedia artist – 634 searches
  8. I Nyoman Masriadi – male Indonesian painter – 625 searches
  9. AES+F – Russian photography and video collective – 521 searches
  10. Hiroshi Sugimoto – male Japanese photographer – 503 seaches
  11. Subodh Gupta – male Indian painter, installation artist – 417 searches
  12. Ori Gersht – male Israeli photographer – 408 searches
  13. Ronald Ventura – male Filipino painter – 393 searches
  14. Farhad Ahrarnia – male Iranian thread artist – 377 searches
  15. Farhard Moshiri – male Iranian painter – 363 searches
  16. Jitish Kallat – male Indian painter – 329 searches
  17. Gao Xingjian – male Chinese-French ink artist – 301 searches
  18. Bharti Kher – female Indian-British painter, sculptor and installation artist – 270 searches
  19. Shahzia Sikander – female Pakistani miniaturist – 264 searches
  20. Zhang Huan – male Chinese performance artist – 237 searches

How has the top 5 changed?

As with the last list, published at the end of 2009, Takashi Murakami is still holding the title spot with more than 36,000 searches. This is compared with 34,000 in 2009’s list. Shirin Neshat and Anish Kapoor have switched places since the previous list, although the difference between their numbers is somewhat insignificant. Yoshitaka Amano is new to the top 5, moving up to 5th place from 6th place in 2009, perhaps due to the 2010 announcement that he has established a film production company called Studio Deva Loka, in addition to directing a 3D anime named Zan. These announcements followed a small solo tour of his artwork. Marina Abramović has surged into the top 5 this time around, particularly notable as she did not appear on the 2009 list. This is most likely due to her 2010 MoMA exhibition, “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”.

Marina Abramovic, 'Happy Christmas', 2008, silver gelatin print, 53.9 x 53.9

Marina Abramovic, 'Happy Christmas', 2008, silver gelatin print, 53.9 x 53.9

How has the list changed since it was first published?

The following artists have returned since the 2009 list was published, but many have moved up or down by one or two places: Cao Fei (4, 2009); I Nyoman Masriadi (5, 2009); Ori Gersht (7, 2009); Terence Koh (8, 2009); AES+F (9, 2009); Ronald Ventura (10, 2009); Hiroshi Sugimoto (11, 2009); Farhad Moshiri (12, 2009); Subodh Gupta (13, 2009); Farhard Moshiri (12, 2009) ; Farhad Ahrarnia (14, 2009); Gao Xingjian (15, 2009); Jitish Kallat (16, 2009).

There are some new additions: Marina Abramović, perhaps due to her 2010 MoMA exhibition, “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”; Shahzia Sikander, whose medium has recently become popular with collectors and critics and who has herself surged into prominence with a win at ART HK 10 ; Bharti Kher, whose works are currently auctioning for large sums; and Zhang Huan, who has had a number of permanent sculptures installed in US cities this year, and whose company designed the permanent public sculpture for the US pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Only Chinese ink artist Wucius Wong doesn’t reappear. His surge in popularity in 2009 may have been due to the retrospective exhibition, “Myriad Visions of Wucius Wong“, at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Preferred media of most-searched artists: miniatures and performance art rising in popularity

Most of the arists work in various media but in this list we have tagged them with the media they are best known for. Six of the artists are known primarily for painting, compared with only five in the 2009 list, and once again, this list is dominated by photographers, new media artists and sculptors. Miniature painting and performance art seem to be new topics of interest for readers.

Artist Age

Most of the artists were born in the 1960s and 1970s, as you would expect for a contemporary art website.

Interestingly, Shirin Neshat (Iranian photographer), Anish Kapoor (British Indian sculptor), Marina Abramović (Serbian performance artist), Yoshitaka Amano (Japanese anime), all born before 1960, were listed as number 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Of course, due to their age and time spent working in the arts, they each have large bodies of work which are consistently being exhibited, collected and discussed.

Artist Gender

male 14 (13, 2009); female 5 (3, 2009); mixed collective 1 (1, 2009)

In the year to June 2010, there were more female artists on the list though men still dominated (approx. 75 percent). Those female artists who were on both lists appeared higher up this year than last.

Breakdown of artist nationalities

Chinese 4 (4, 2009); Indian 4 (4, 2009); Iranian 3 (3, 2009); Japanese 3 (3, 2009); Serbian 1 (not listed, 2009); Israeli 1 (1, 2009); Indonesian (1, 2009); Filipino (1, 2009); Russian (1, 2009)

As you can see, this result is almost identical to the previous result, with the edition of one Serbian artist (Marina Abramović, Serbian performance artist). Once again, artists from China and India are among the most searched nationality, despite fears the Indian art market would be slow to recover after the 2008-2009 global art market turndown.

Shahzia Sikander working on a mural in the USA.

Shahzia Sikander working on a mural in the USA.

Notes
This list is not a reliable proxy for the most-searched artists on the internet overall. Here is why: If we have not written a story on or tagged this artist, the search engines will not bring us traffic for this search term and it won’t appear on our traffic analysis stats page. As we have only been up for 18 months it is quite possible that we have not yet covered some higly-searched artists. And even if we have referenced an artist on our site and the artist is highly-searched, the searcher will not come to us unless we have a good page ranking for the story on the search engine.  For example if the story is, say, after page 4 of the search engine results, the searcher probably won’t find our story and will not appear in our stats. Despite these limitations the data is likely to be a reliable indicator for certain trends. Finally even if we have a story and the story is well-ranked, it may be that other stories on the same page are more alluring than ours and readers do not find their way to us.

KN/KCE

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A different kind of real – Gesai winner Yamaguchi Soichi’s international solo debut in Hong Kong – interview

Posted by artradar on October 14, 2009


JAPANESE CONTEMPORARY ART

'Pose' by Yamaguchi Soichi, 2009. Acrylic on Canvas. 145x145 cm.  $20,250. USD. Inquire with the Madhouse Gallery, Hong Kong.

'Pose' by Yamaguchi Soichi, 2009. Acrylic on Canvas. 145x145 cm. $20,250. USD. Inquire with the Madhouse Gallery, Hong Kong.

Yamaguchi Soichi is a bright creative star who has surpassed his own expectations and found recognition and success early in his career as a contemporary Japanese artist. Indeed, he only graduated from the Tokyo National University of Art and Music in 2007, but he has already caught the attention of the guru of Japanese contemporary art himself, Mr. Takashi Murakami, and was chosen from hundreds of hopeful young artists to receive the coveted Gesai #9 Gold Award in 2006.  His cheerful yet introspective works beg the viewer to escape from a mass universal perspective, and offer a glimpse at a world that he hopes will ‘cause a question, and make you think about what is unknown.’

A journey began with the Batman logo

Yamaguchi is a quiet and soft spoken 26 year old, and is not a natural urbanite, preferring the Japanese countryside and activities like fishing to hustle and noise. He admits that he believes he sees the world differently than others, and discovered this in unlikely circumstances about 10 years ago. Believe it or not, Soichi says his artistic journey started while pondering the ‘Batman’ logo, those outstretched black webbed wings, which he mistook for a gaping open mouth. His ‘mistake’ of seeing something else prompted him to further expore why he sees differently, and the fruits of his discoveries are currently on display at the Madhouse Gallery in Hong Kong, in a solo exhibition titled ‘The Way You Look.’

First international solo exhibition

Soichi’s Madhouse show is his first international solo exhibition, and also marks his first visit to Hong Kong. However, the emerging artist is well traveled, having visited Beijing, New York, and Brazil in the past 2 years. When asked about the cultural and spiritual background of Soichi’s art, he explained that his work is overtly Japanese, not consciously borrowing from other traditions, and has little deliberate religious or spiritual intention. Although many viewers believe his works are spiritually motivated, he is actually philosophically motivated. He explains:

‘People see things differently, according to their heart. People can see many things on a street, and each person will see things differently. What one sees, or pays attention to depends on the outlook of the individual. Although many people think the art is religiously motivated, this is not my intention.”

The use of the eyeball motif in Soichi’s work reinforces this idea of perspective.  He comments:

We see things differently, all from our eyes. The idea is that we see things differently and the eyes are a reminder that everything is from a different perspective.

Eyes, by Yamaguchi Soichi, 2009. Acrylic on canvas. 100x150 cm. $17,700. USD. Inquire with the Madhouse Gallery in Hong Kong.

Eyes, by Yamaguchi Soichi, 2009. Acrylic on canvas. 100x150 cm. $17,700. USD. Inquiries to the Madhouse Gallery.

Existence and an interconnected universe

However, the artistic concept from this promising young artist goes even deeper. He explains that another inspiration for his art is the idea of existence, interconnectedness, and universal expansion. He is inspired by the ‘other’ and is searching for an alternate form of reality to convey to viewers, because, he says:

Nowadays we have information from many networks, news and the TV, and everyone is getting the same information. This is a very dangerous thing. Art provides another vision of how to see things. It is very dangerous when everyone is looking at the same thing or the same road, because when a way is no longer good, it will collapse. This art is like an exit, and offers an escape from the mass perspective. It offers a different kind of real.

The ‘next step’ in Japanese art

The psychadelic, celebratory, and invigorating works of Soichi do indeed channel an otherworldly feel. For those collectors looking for an appealing investment, this young Japanese artist offers a visual look that is completely unique to Japan, which appears to be the ‘next step’ in the evolution of Japan’s surreal cartoon-like motifs. With Soichi being a newcomer on the international contemporary art scene, his works are still priced reasonably. There are some who are saying that for the investment-minded, Soichi’s work might be a promising buy.

Everyone, by Yamaguchi Soichi, 2009. Acrylic on canvas. 27x27 cm. $2,300. USD. Inquire with the Madhouse Gallery, Hong Kong.

Everyone, by Yamaguchi Soichi, 2009. Acrylic on canvas. 27x27 cm. $2,300. USD. Inquire with the Madhouse Gallery, Hong Kong.

Q & A with Yamaguchi Soichi

Which artists do you admire?

Japanese artists Tahami Kenishi and Nakamura Hiroshi.

How did you first begin marketing your work?  Who did you work with?

I began working with the Hiromi Yoshi Gallery in Tokyo. I networked at art conventions, and at Gesai I met my gallery.

How long does it take to produce an artwork?

Depends on the size. The painting may only take a certain amount of time, but before painting, I have to create the concept and make preliminary drawings, which can take a very long time. The actual process of physically painting a work may only take a month, but then ideas may pop into my head after awhile and I add onto it. It is all a work in progress for awhile.

Tell me about how you work? A typical piece?

I use a piece of paper to create the basic composition, making the shapes without color. Then I consider which parts should be dark and light, and finally decide the colors.

What kind of space do you work in?

I work in a mostly empty personal studio with white walls. The walls are covered with bits of paper with ideas written on them. Every time I get an idea I scribble it down and stick it to the wall.

When did you sell your first piece? Is it hard parting with your work?

I was 23 when I sold my first piece. I was so excited when someone offered to buy my work! I don’t mind parting with it, actually. I feel like the buyers of art will honor it and take good care of it. I think it goes to a good home.

What has surprised you the most about working in the arts?

I didn’t expect such a fast reception of my work—I am suddenly having international solo shows and conducting interviews only a year out of school. When I started my career I just wanted to create interesting art, and didn’t have any expectations of becoming famous. I was lucky to meet people who understood my concepts, but I don’t already consider myself successful. I want to do more.

What has been your biggest challenge in art?

The main challenge is how it will be perceived, and the initial impact of a work, in the first moment a viewer looks at it. Also, I send so many messages in one piece, a major challenge is how it should all come together.

What problems do you see for young artists today?

The current standard of the art market sometimes dictates what artists create, and artists should not change themselves to fit neatly into the market standard. Individuality is a strength.

In what ways are young artists today fortunate?

There are more ways to enter the industry now. Most of my friends have moved on to international destinations, like New York and San Fransisco, to start their careers. It may actually be too easy to enter the art world, since there appears to be too many artists who find success before they have found their voice. It is not ultimately good for artists to be shown in galleries when they have not yet discovered their main concept.

EW/KE

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Posted in Emerging artists, Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Interviews, Japanese, Painting, Prizes | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Renowned Japanese artist Hiroshi Senju chooses Hong Kong for his solo debut – interview

Posted by artradar on October 2, 2009


JAPANESE ART

Hiroshi Senju

It was the biggest night of the year at one of the most prominent art galleries in Asia. Hiroshi Senju’s opening of Out of Nature: Cliffs and Falling Water at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Central, Hong Kong has been planned for 2 years, and the gallery was naturally delighted to be selected by the renowned Senju to display his artworks. The gallery was so pleased because Hiroshi Senju is among an elite few of international artists who can have their pick of any gallery in the world to showcase their work, and it is notable that he chose Sundaram Tagore. However, more importantly, he also chose Hong Kong.

Senju’s Sundaram debut marks his first solo show in Hong Kong, which introduces the first 4 paintings in his highly anticipated Rocks and Cliffs series. Throughout the opening event, gallery staff nervously guarded Senju’s 16 signature waterfall paintings and 4 new cliff-themed works, as cheery guests sauntered dangerously close to the  $200,000+ (USD) paintings while sipping glasses of champagne.

For those who don’t know, Hiroshi Senju is an important player in the art world, and would be at the top of a hypothetical who’s-who among Asian artists, or all international artists for that matter. He was thrust into art stardom in 1995 when he became the first Asian artist to receive an award at the Venice Biennale while representing Japan, and he is now among the most celebrated contemporary artists in Asia. In 2003 he became the Director of the Kyoto University of Art and Design, where he also currently teaches art. He now splits his time between Japan and New York, spending about 8 months of the year in NYC working out of his intriguing converted-power-plant art studio.

In an exclusive interview, Hiroshi Senju discusses his career and inspiration with Art Radar. Read on to discover why he chose Hong Kong for his new series debut, why he doesn’t consider himself a Japanese artist or even particularly connected to Japanese culture, and what he believes is the greater purpose of contemporary art.

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall, 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 90.9 x 116.7 cm

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall, 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 90.9 x 116.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Where did you grow up, and where were you educated? Were there any major influences or people in your life pushing you toward the arts?

I’ve lived in Tokyo since kindergarten, all the way to my graduate school. So, I’ve lived in Tokyo for a long time, and now I’m living in New York. I lived in a quiet suburban neighborhood, but my elementary school was far away, so I had to take trains and buses to go to school. My parents discouraged me from art. Since elementary school I went to a competitive private school, where there was no test to get into college. The university that I went to was very competitive, the children of politicians and business owners graduated from there, many who became politicians and doctors. My father was a famous economist and my grandfather was a famous medical doctor. My parents encouraged me to become a scholar or foreign diplomat. So, since elementary school I studied very hard to become that, and it was a surprise to them when I wanted to become an artist.

When did you know you were an artist?

I liked art since I was a child. My artwork was represented in my primary school every year, which was unusual, so since then I knew that I had some talent for art, but I never thought I would become an artist. When I started thinking about going to art school I was in high school, but there were so many choices, graphic arts, architect, product designer, so I had a hard time deciding what to become in the field of art. But when I was in high school one of the art teachers suggested I go to a certain exhibition. That exhibition was all done in the style of painting that I do now, which is ‘Nihonga’ style. So as a high school student I was very impressed with the pigments, and I decided I wanted to make art with these kinds of pigments.

In which countries and cities do you spend most of your time?

I probably spend the most of my time in an airplane, that means I travel a lot! But really, I spend about 2/3 of the year in New York in the studio, and 100 days in Kyoto where I am the president of the art university. Other than that I am traveling around the world looking for motifs, especially to Brazil and Argentina.

Do you have a deep connection to any other places or cultures other than Japan?

I don’t necessarily feel connected to Japan. I do not follow any certain culture, but a modern culture. We eat Indian, Chinese, and French food, we drink wines and sake. And sushi. This is what modern people are all about. I want to speak as a cosmopolitan, so therefore I do not necessarily want the audience to feel ‘oh, this is Japanese, or this is Chinese’. There may be some connections to German works of art as well. I try to keep an equal distance from all cultures. But, at the same time, I explained that I love the pigments and that’s why I started this kind of painting. I would like to connect to before the ages when all the people were divided, before the races were divided into east and west, before the culture was divided into east and west.

Which cultures and art scenes do you follow the most?

One thing I really like is 11th century Chinese art. So when I created this new series of work called The Cliff, I could have shown anywhere in the world, but I chose Hong Kong. I felt that the Hong Kong audience will be the most critical audience, since they have the traditions of the work that I love, 11th century Chinese art.

Which artists do you admire?

I admire Claude Monet, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol. All these masters created art and art history. I respect this and all the arts. If I had to choose one, which is very hard, I would choose the Italian Renaissance. Those people have left a big footprint in art history.

Which contemporary artists are you most interested in?

Since I am an artist I am most interested in myself.

What things inspire you?

The inspiration I value the most are the emotions that all humans feel. I value this not as an artist, but as a human being. Also, I like to read Haruki Murakami.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not making art?

I play with my kids, my 3 sons. They are 16, 15, and 12. They are in New York.

Why did you first start painting in the ancient style?

As I have studied oil and acrylic painting, I found this style had the most potential. The pigments themselves are extraordinary and paper is very attractive and has many possibilities. Mulberry paper is very strong, even if you tried to rip it you can’t. This paper has a long history in Japan. I didn’t choose this because it is Japanese, but having equal distance from all techniques, I chose this because it had the most potential.

How did you first begin marketing your work?

It was very difficult. Probably every artist remembers the first piece that was sold. When you think of creating a work to sell, it won’t sell. When you first creating a work that you don’t want to let go, that’s when people start buying.

Who are your major collectors?

Of course many buyers are in the Japan and U.S. Many entrepreneurs. I shouldn’t mention names.

How long does it take to produce an artwork?

Since I’m 51 years old, I can say that the work all took 51 years to create. What it means is that since I’ve lived 51 years, and it took this long for me to decide to use these pigments and find motifs to create the work. That is the most accurate. However, if you mean how long I actually spend creating a single painting, each one takes about a month.

Tell me about how you work? A typical piece?

When you start painting you should not spend too much time wondering. You have decided you are creating, and you put on your best efforts to create. I do not look at the cliff and say, oh, that is such a beautiful cliff, I want to paint now. It is different from that. I have emotions I want to express, and creating a cliff would exactly show what I want to say. That’s how I create them. First emotions, then the image comes. When I first look at the cliff there is an emotion I had, and with this cliff I can express my emotion. But that’s only 5% of the work. The other 95% of the work is communication between myself and the canvas.

There is a sculptor who sculpts from stone, and he says that all he does is get the art out of the stone. What he is going to create is sitting inside the stone, and all he does is get it out. When I create the work, the painting tells me what it wants me to do. I listen to the voice of the painting. It is nothing spiritual and isn’t an Asian concept– but most artists, I think this is how they create work.

What kind of space do you work in?

I use my studio, which previously was an electrical factory, or a power plant. It is so large there that my assistants carry the phones around so they can get to it in time when it rings. Previously I used the university’s art studio as a student. It is important to remember the humbling feeling of using the universitys art studio as a student. Students work out of pure love and joy for creation. It is important to keep that.

Where were you inspired to make this current Rock and Cliff series?

These cliff pieces are the first 4 in this series that I have created. I found these cliffs in my dreams, although I did sketch places in Argentina. I went to paint in Argentina during the summer to look for motifs like waterfalls.

What are your next projects?

I’m planning on making a national guest house, working with Mr. Tadao Ando, an architect. There are many more projects, for example an airport project, train stations, and a building in Singapore. I’m very happy and lucky that I have such exciting projects.

Is there a piece in the show especially meaningful to you?

These paintings are like my children, therefore I cannot differentiate one f’rom the other. I like each one of them, and that is my truth.

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper,  90.0 x 116.7 cm

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 90.0 x 116.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Advice for Young Artists

Was it hard starting out? What advice would you give young artists and aspiring art directors?

First is confidence, second is courage, third is talent. Being confident and able to encourage yourself is more important than talent, because everyone has a talent. As long as you believe in yourself and encourage yourself, it will come through. I encourage everyone to pursue their dreams.

What mistakes do you think artists make most in terms of developing their careers? What should they be doing?

Artists can over value their work too much or think of their work too highly. However, at the same time you cannot undervalue it either. You must become objective.

How has the contemporary art scene changed since you began working with it?

The contemporary art situation changes depending on the economic situations in the world. Luckily I have been unaffected, but it is unfortunate the economy dictates the art scene. Since  I am connected to someone with great respect in the art world, I can stick to what I want to create. It is important to be connected to a good gallery.

Which Japanese institutions and galleries do you admire and recommend to art lovers?

First, Tokyo National Museum, and also the Kyoto University of Art. I am the president there, but I do not recommend it because I am the president- I took the job because I had so much respect for the institution.

How would you recommend artists approach galleries for representation and what advice would you give about having a good relationship with a gallery?

Be honest. Gallerists have known of many incoming artists to exaggerate or lie. So be honest and have good quality work. At the same time, you can’t sell rock music to an opera fan. You have to find the right dealer.

What problems do you see for young artists today? In what ways are young artists today fortunate?

The economic situation is a problem for young artists. Also, there is too much information. I think too many people are tied to the trends, and trends are created by someone else. As a young artist, you must find what you have and work with what you’ve got. But, being in the information age is an advantage, because you are able to show your work over the internet. A while ago you had to be in New York. When I was young I had to show something in New York, or else no one would see the work. Now you can create a homepage of your own, and you can submit your ideas through the internet to anywhere in the world.

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper,   90.0 x 116.7 cm

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 90.0 x 116.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Contemporary Art: Why Is It Important?

What role do you think contemporary art plays in society?

To bring back memories of things you have forgotten, problems of ecology, the earth’s environmental issues, lack of communications, peace, this is the role of contemporary art. For example, my pieces are made out of all natural ingredients, the paper and pigments are natural, the glue is also natural. By using these natural materials I want people to see the powers of nature. Looking at the painting of the waterfall, I want people to appreciate the falling water as a beauty in itself. When I created the cliff I applied the pigment with a scrunched up paper. The scrunched paper is a fault to most people. However, I do not consider the imperfection a problem, but rather I find beauty in it. It’s about recycling, and bringing back the things that might have been scarred. I believe these concepts are very important for the 21st century. Do not throw out the paper because it is scrunched, but find beauty in its shapes.

What is your philosophy as an artist?  Why create art?

I find it a peace-making process. Like singers sing songs, it is a way of communication. When an artist shows work it is all about communicating. Art is all about communicating with everybody beyond religions and sexes. Therefore it is the peace-making process. I think that is the wonderful part of making art. There is a wisdom within it.

What do you think is the greater purpose of contemporary art?

It helps us understand that everyone has very different ideas, but we are all human beings. I believe that what I think is beautiful, you will think is beautiful also.

What are you trying to achieve or communicate through your art?

I want everyone to remember the concept of beauty, and it is sublime. In beauty I believe there’s a lot of power, which gives people encouragement and energy to live.

How do you want people to feel and think when viewing your works?

I want everyone to think like myself! I want everyone to think like how I feel about beauty.

Does water and the waterfall have a special significance to you?

For all human beings, the most important element is water. Deep inside, that’s why I wanted to create water.

What has been your biggest challenge in art?

My challenge is in creating and successfully showing every work. Now is the most important time for me. Every day is a challenge.

Skira, the leading Italian publisher, will release a monograph on Hiroshi Senju for worldwide distribution in fall 2009.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

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Posted in Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Japanese, Painting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Top 5 sites for Japanese contemporary art news by Matthew Larking

Posted by artradar on June 24, 2009


JAPAN ART READING

What are the top sources of information about Japanese contemporary art?

The Japanese art scene can seem impenetrable to non-Japanese speakers and yet, despite  this, there is a growing swell of global interest in contemporary art from Japan. There are several potential reasons:

  • Takashi Murakami, who has probably done more than any other artist ever to make contemporary art accessible. He has been astonishingly effective in widening the market for and interest in contemporary art globally;
  • the maturing of the art scene in Tokyo which has seen a new group of galleries open in the last fifteen years;
  • the wave of interest in manga and video games, spawned in Japan, which has swept across the world;
  • the ‘separateness’ of Japan whose monoracial, monolinguistic island society has developed its own cultural idiosyncrasies, creating ripe ground for art with a fresh perspective.

So what is the best way to keep abreast of art news in Japan? We asked lecturer and, since 2002 Japanese Times art critic Matthew Larking, to give his recommendations about what to read to keep up to date.

1. Tokyo Art Beat –   www.tokyoartbeat.com – “gives updates and everything else on the Tokyo art scene”

From the website: “a bilingual art and design events guide which offers event listings, reviews and a shop. The site is updated daily and lists more than 500 current & upcoming art events, at any moment. Smart data organisation with events sorted by media, schedules, and location, as well as event lists like Closing soon, Most popular, Open late, and Free. Available via any PC or mobile phone.”

2. ARTiT –  http://www.art-it.jp/e_index.php – “the ARTiT site has a few good interviews and bits and pieces here and there”

From the website: “a visually oriented, all bilingual (Japanese and English) quarterly magazine introducing the latest trends in the contemporary art scenes of Japan and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. ART iT features comprehensive interviews with topical artists, in-depth articles on current art-related subjects, and detailed information on exhibitions at top museums and galleries throughout Asia-Pacific.”

3. PING MAGhttp://pingmag.jp/ – “now defunct but with some good archives is PING MAG which introduces a few artists who don’t get so much press in the usual places”

4. Japan Timeshttp://www.japantimes.co.jp/entertainment/art.html “the Japan Times does a full page dedicated to the Arts every Friday, the only newspaper in Japan to do so and many of the writers are very good”

5. Artscape Internationalhttp://www.dnp.co.jp/artscape/eng/

From the website:  “a monthly English web magazine for readers both inside and outside Japan, but especially overseas, with an interest in Japan’s art scene and artists. With one of Japan’s most comprehensive art databases, Artscape compiles up-to-date information about art events throughout Japan, presenting reviews of exhibitions and articles about art trends and artists.”

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Posted in Japan, Japanese, Manga, Overviews, Resources, Services, Takashi Murakami | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How a long recession helped Japanese contemporary art collector, Ryutaro Takahashi

Posted by artradar on June 11, 2009


Ryutoro TakahashiJAPANESE ART COLLECTOR

 A Japanese psychiatrist, Ryutaro Takahashi, has become one of the most important collectors of Japanese contemporary art, having amassed a collection of over 1,500 pieces since 1997. And, in an inspiring story we can all take heart from today, he was able to do so largely because of Japan’s long recession. The Japan Times explains:

The late ’90s were particularly tough for dealers… because the long-running economic downturn had translated into severe funding cuts for public museums. The reason recent art is so underrepresented in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, for example, is that from 2000 to 2004 it had no acquisitions budget. Takahashi was able to snap up dozens of pieces while the nation’s museums went AWOL.

Takahashi emphasises that he did not take deliberate steps to fill the void left by underfunded institutions. So what did motivate this collector and how did he get started?

“I used to hang around Fugetsudo Cafe in Shinjuku,” he tells The Japan Times, describing the coffee shop that was a hippie Mecca during the counterculture years. “We’d hear about the happenings that Yayoi Kusama was doing in New York. She was like a star to us.”

Takahashi was not an artist himself, but the period left him with a fascination for the avant garde.

“In 1997 I saw an exhibition of new work by Kusama,” he says. “At about the same time, a show of new work by Makoto Aida was being held at Mizuma Art Gallery. So, in a short time I saw work by someone I thought was a star and also an important up- and-coming artist. That lit the spark within me.”

The spark quickly flared into a wildfire.

“Once I had bought a few I realized that if I was going to do this, I had to do it properly,” he says.

He focused on young artists from Japan, spending Saturdays roaming cutting-edge galleries: Mizuma, Ota Fine Arts, Tomio Koyama. Soon he was plowing all his resources into the project.

 

Makota Aida "A Picture of an Air Raid on New York City (War Picture Returns)" 1996

Makota Aida A Picture of an Air Raid on New York City (War Picture Returns), 1996

One of his first major purchases was Aida’s A Picture of an Air Raid on New York City (War Picture Returns), a giant screen-painting which depicts fighter planes forming an infinity symbol as they bomb New York. Since then he has bought about ten more Aida works.

Usually, big paintings by such respected artists would find their way into public collections. But not in Japan, or at least not in the past ten years in Japan. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, has just one Aida, and the five national art museums have none.

The story is similar with other 40-something artists such as Akira Yamaguchi, Hisashi Tenmyouya and Tsuyoshi Ozawa. Each has been given large-scale, midcareer retrospectives at major Tokyo venues, but none is well represented in any public collection. Takahashi’s holdings, by contrast, include several major works by each.

Read more in The Japan Times about:

  •  how Takahashi believes that Japanese art is becoming divorced from the West
  • what he plans to do with his collection and
  • where it can be seen now

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Japanese contemporary art – changes and trends – by gallerist Koyanagi

Posted by artradar on March 24, 2009


JAPANESE ART SCENE

Gallerist Atsuko Koyanagi discusses:

  • why Japanese galleries group together in different districts
  • how the opening of the Mori museum impacted the art scene
  • Japanese government’s relationship with culture
  • how Japanese and Western collectors differ
  • the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese art market
  • the future for art in Japan

Gallery Koyanagi is one of Tokyo’s top contemporary art galleries, representing major artists such as Sophie Calle, Marlene Dumas, Olafur Eliasson, Mariko Mori, Rika Noguchi, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Tabaimo.

The gallery, a regular exhibitor at Art Basel, Frieze Art Fair, Art Fair Tokyo and CIGE, started out as a contemporary ceramics gallery in 1988 but its founder and director Atsuko Koyanagi reopened the space as a contemporary art gallery in 1995. She talks here to Ashley Rawlings, an art critic based in Tokyo, about the changes in contemporary art in Japan over the last 15 years and about upcoming trends.

Atsuko Koyanagi

Atsuko Koyanagi

AR: What led you to open your gallery as a contemporary art gallery in 1995?

AK: The mid-1980s was when Cindy Sherman was becoming known and photography was starting to be appreciated as an artistic medium in its own right. Back then, with the exception of Zeit Photo Salon, Tokyo didn’t have any museums or galleries dedicated to photography. At that time I also met Hiroshi Sugimoto, and he was looking for a gallery that would represent him, but was being met with a lot of rejection. I was inspired to show his work and make the shift into contemporary art.

The advertising work I had done at Kazuko Koike’s office until then was in some respects close to photography. I felt I had an eye for this medium and that it would offer me the easiest way to enter the contemporary art world. I hadn’t studied art and I had never worked in another gallery before, so opening my own contemporary gallery was incredibly difficult at the beginning. But it was for that very reason that I felt I was open to involving myself with something new. So Gallery Koyanagi reopened as a contemporary art gallery on the first floor of this building in 1995, and then moved to the 8th floor in 2004.

AR: From the mid-1990s you became closely associated with other young gallery owners who drove the Tokyo art scene towards recovery. What was the reason for you all grouping together?

AK: Until then there had been no real talk of bringing Tokyo’s galleries together in the same space. There were, of course, a couple of old gallery associations like the Bijutsu Club and so on, but nothing equivalent for contemporary galleries. People working in the contemporary art world tend to be quite individualistic. It wasn’t like we all had to all be best friends, but given how small the market was back then, we were stronger and stood out more as a group. It would allow us to introduce each other to each other’s clients. So I started to talk to the various galleries about it, and we held a group show at Spiral Garden called ‘G9: New Direction’.

AR: Ever since then the contemporary art world in Tokyo has been characterized by various combinations of galleries grouping together in buildings around the city. What led to the Shinkawa building opening?

AK: Tomio Koyama was already occupying one of the spaces within the Sagacho Exhibit Space, as were Shugo Satani and Taro Nasu. The Sagacho Exhibit Space was doing very well and in 2001 Shugo Satani and I opened the Rice Gallery by G2 within it, but by then the building had been slated for demolition the next year.

Everyone had been working really well together, so we wanted to keep the collaboration going. Koyama-san happened to find the building in Shinkawa, and we moved there in 2003. The Shinkawa building was able to house four of us: Taka Ishii Gallery, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Shugoarts and a showroom extension of Gallery Koyanagi.

AR: At this time the Mori Art Museum was about to open. How did that impact the gallery scene?

AK: I was working with Mariko Mori, and at her wedding party, I had the opportunity to talk with Minoru Mori. I mentioned to him that abroad, the opening of a major museum tends to attract the opening of commercial galleries around it.

The Mori Corporation was buying up old buildings in the area for future redevelopment, so I suggested to him that it might be interesting to rent out those buildings at reduced rates to galleries that wouldn’t mind their condition. He was interested and straight away he introduced me to the planning division, which suggested a building on nearby Imoaraizaka. It was in a pretty run down state, so the rent was very cheap. The galleries that couldn’t fit into the Shinkawa building opened up there.

AR: With the map of Tokyo’s contemporary art galleries having diversified so much beyond the Ginza area, are you still happy to have your space in this neighborhood?

AK: I was born and raised in this neighborhood and my family business has always been here. I guess if I were starting from scratch now, I probably wouldn’t choose to run a contemporary art gallery here. But then this building belongs to my family, so there are financial incentives to be here too.

AR: What do you think the future is for Ginza?

AK: In recent years there have been more and more buildings by foreign companies going up and it’s a little sad to see Ginza losing some of its original character. Ginza is one of the most representative, internationally known parts of Japan, and so I have quite strong views on how it should be and a strong desire to protect its status as one of Japan’s most significant areas.

Areas like Daikanyama, Aoyama and Roppongi are becoming these very stylish places, so I think Ginza has to keep up. On the other hand, the people running old shops here are working really hard too, so I hope we can achieve a neighborhood with the right balance of new and old.

AR: What do you look for in an artist’s work before deciding to take them on?

AK: It’s not so much what I look for in the artist’s work as what I look for in the artist as a person. Of course, when I encounter a work, I want it to have an impact on me, but it’s who the person behind it is that’s more important. I want to know what they see, what they think, what it is they are trying to convey.

The quality of each work that an artist produces may vary, but overall it is a constant process of trial and error that they are engaged with. If I can look at the fundamentals of what they do and feel good about it, then I know I can work with them.

I also have to bear my clients in mind. I know what kind of tastes they have and what they are searching for in contemporary art, so when looking at an artist’s work, it’s incredibly important to consider how it fits in with our current stable of artists. In general if I like the artist and their work, then my clients will like them too.

AR: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese contemporary art market?

AK: One of the main reasons the art market doesn’t really grow here is due to taxation laws. In the United States, you get tax breaks if you buy an artwork and eventually donate it to a museum. This is a fantastic system that allows people with money to buy art, enjoy it and then give it to a museum for the benefit of others, and it helps museums enrich their collections.

However, there is no such system in Japan: if you buy an artwork here it becomes an asset and you have to pay tax on it.

Another problem is that there are very few big collectors of contemporary art. Perhaps that’s because the market hasn’t fully matured. There are of course serious collectors like Toshio Hara, Minoru Mori and Soichiro Fukutake, but overall there are very few compared to the number you would find abroad.

AR: Compared to other large cities in the world, does Tokyo receive enough funding from the government to support the art world?

AK: Not really. The Japanese government has absolutely no cultural strategy when it comes to contemporary art. Of course, when manga suddenly became popular, everybody in the government started to pay attention to Takashi Murakami and government officials started to make use of manga as a buzzword, but that’s not the same as having a strategy.

In other countries, like Switzerland, the government pays for the insurance of artworks. Tohaku Hasegawa’s ‘Pine Trees’ screen is a national treasure, and it was shown in Switzerland last year. The insurance costs for having that work shipped over there must be astronomical and too much for a museum to bear, but it was all covered by the Swiss government. It would be so helpful if there were a system like that in Japan, but there isn’t. If Japan could give tax breaks for donating to museums and cover the insurance costs of shipping artworks, I think the market here would be able to grow much more healthily.

AR: Broadly speaking, are there any identifiable differences in taste between Japanese and foreign collectors?

AK: A lot of artists in Europe and the US make work that really engages with the serious social issues of their time, be it war, economic problems or racism. Those kinds of problems are more immediate in Europe and the US, and the people who live there deal with them in real time. Correspondingly, there are collectors who truly comprehend their work and buy it.

 Japan, on the other hand, is more of a monoracial society; it has not been at war at all for the past sixty years and in general has had much less social instability to deal with. As Takashi Murakami put it, the Japanese suffer from ‘peace lag’ or have been infantilized; they don’t feel themselves to be very connected to the problems that affect the world.

For example, the wars going on in the Middle East are thought of as America’s problem, and the Japanese don’t feel the same anger towards President Bush as everyone else does. If an artist conveys that anger in a work, then there will certainly be American collectors who will identify with it and buy it, whereas Japanese collectors probably wouldn’t. Of course, some work speaks to everyone through technique alone, but contemporary art is about more than just that; collectors have their conceptual preferences as well.

In Japan there is also a tendency for people to rush towards easily comprehensible art. Gallery owners like Tomio Koyama and artists like Motohiko Odani and Takashi Murakami have been instrumental in making art more accessible to a greater number of people, and I think that’s really good, but equally it’s important not to go too far. I think contemporary art should relate to social issues, and I hope that Japanese collectors will also make the effort to understand the nuances that artists are trying to convey.

AR: How has Japanese contemporary art changed over the past fifteen years?

AK: Looking back at how appalling a state the economy was in when I opened my gallery thirteen years ago, I’d have to say the state of the Tokyo art world has changed a lot since then. To talk about these changes simply in terms of prices, fifteen years ago, a small work by Hiroshi Sugimoto would sell for 350,000 yen, whereas now its primary market price at this gallery would be 1.5 million yen. It would then fetch about 5 million yen at auction. A work by Marlene Dumas was worth 350,000 yen back then but now on the primary market her paintings will sell for three to 5 million yen; at auction her work would fetch close to 10 million yen. So just looking at the prices you see how much the market has grown.

I think the market will grow just as much over the next fifteen years as well. But whether it’s Murakami, Nara or Sugimoto, these price rises have largely been due to the growth of the international market, so in a sense it’s like they are being imported back into Japan. These works didn’t increase in value through Japanese auctions, but European and American ones. But their sales abroad caught people’s attention here and have encouraged Japanese people to buy.

Another thing that has changed has been the opening of a new generation of galleries here in Tokyo. I’m very happy about this, as it helps encourage young people to get involved in the art world. Before, collecting habits used to be very divided, with only young people buying work by young artists and only established collectors buying work by big name artists, but that has changed. The market has matured a lot.

AR: What about upcoming trends?

AK: In the past Western artists used to dominate everything and both female and Asian artists were a minority. That’s just not the case anymore. Now artists gain recognition simply according to their individual merits. There are also more and more chances for artists to go abroad these days. In the 1980s it used to be that an artist would have to make it big in Japan before going abroad, but now it’s possible to become popular in other places like New York and then come back to Japan, and I think there will be more artists taking that sort of route from here on.
This interview is an extract from Art Space Tokyo (Chin Music Press, 2008), an intimate guide to the Tokyo art world that features 20 interviews with the directors and curators behind some of Tokyo’s most distinctive galleries and museums, and many others. To find out more, visit Art Space Tokyo.

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Posted in Art districts, Collectors, Gallerists/dealers, Japan, Japanese, Manga, Overviews, Professionals, Profiles, Trends, Women power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New York’s first major show of Anime, Manga and Video Games KRAZY! Japan Society

Posted by artradar on February 15, 2009


Takashi Okzaki, Afro Samurai, Film Still

Takashi Okzaki, Afro Samurai, Film Still

 

JAPANESE CONTEMPORARY ART MANGA ANIME

KRAZY! The delirious world of Anime, Manga and Video Games March – June 14 2009 New York

The influence of these three forms of Japanese contemporary art and popular culture has been sweeping across Asia and around the world.  This unique traveling survey of contemporary Japanese culture was organised by Vancouver Art Gallery.

“The Vancouver Art Gallery is committed to fostering new and dynamic understandings of visual culture. With the exhibition KRAZY!, we seized a tremendous opportunity to forward the study of some of the world’s fastest growing art forms,” said Kathleen Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Despite the pervasive presence of these media, little has been done to assess the ties that bind them. By offering an interdisciplinary account in a major survey exhibition for the first time, we will illuminate their importance as a sustained cultural force.”

From the Japan Society website:

cosplay_party_21KRAZY! will be New York’s first major show dedicated to the Japanese phenomenon of Anime, Manga, and Video Games-three forms of contemporary visual art that are exercising a huge influence on an entire generation of American youth.

The exhibition, organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, will be presented in an environment designed by cutting-edge architectural practice Atelier Bow-Wow, featuring life-size blowups of popular figures from the worlds of anime and manga within an intriguing sequence of spaces that evoke Tokyo’s clamorous cityscape.

 Co-curated by leading North American and Japanese specialists, KRAZY! will give visitors a direct experience of new forms of cultural production and offers fresh insight into the interdependence of three art forms of the future.

Source: Japan Society website

  • Event details
  • Video  – Brief trailer describing how visitors can interact with the show – 6 movie theatres, a sound room, games consoles etc.
  • Krazy! Cosplay party event details  March 28 2009 – dress up as characters

Artists:

Anime:

Ichiro Itano (Super Dimension Fortress Macross), Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Wolf’s Rain), Satoshi Kon (Paprika), Mamoru Oshii (Patlabor 2: The Movie), Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Makoto Shinkai (The Place Promised in Our Early Days), and Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game).

Manga:

Moyoco Anno (Sakuran), Hisashi Eguchi (Stop!! Hibari-kun!), Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkon Kinkreet: Black & White), Junko Mizuno (Pure Trance), Mamoru Nagano (The Five Star Stories), Hitoshi Odajima (Mu: For Sale), Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai), and Yuichi Yokoyama (New Engineering).

Video Games:

Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man) and Shigeru Miyamoto (Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker)

Review links:

  • Popcultureshock.com – appears to be full press release for original Vancouver show May 2008, details of exhibits which have ‘shaped the history of contemporary visual culture’ and bios of 7 participating curators
  • Anime Today – preview of New York show, listen to Joe Earle director of Japan Society talk about it
  • Krazy! at Vancouver Art Gallery stretches visual vocabulary – May 2008 – Straight.com – comment on cross over of high art and pop culture, interviews Vancouver Art Gallery about their art mandate and how this show fits within it
  • Canadian Art – May 2008 – asks ‘is it art?’, information about artworks and several images
Click to buy catalogue of show

Click to buy catalogue of show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Anime, Cartoon, Electronic art, Fantasy art, Illustration, Interactive art, Japanese, Museum shows, New Media, New York, Participatory, Pop Art, Surveys, USA, Utopian art, Video, Virtual | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Manga, ink and new generation Chinese – Top ten shows in Hong Kong September 2008 part 1 – Saatchi Online

Posted by artradar on September 4, 2008


EXHIBITIONS HONG KONG
Yoshitaka Amano 'Deva Loka Bleu'

Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano – New Works

Art Statements Gallery
30 August to 10 October 2008

Fans of Japanese cartoons and animations are in for a treat this September at Art Statements Gallery where legendary Japanese manga artist Yoshitaka Amano is presenting a solo exhibition of new works. No longer a subculture with a limited following, manga has grown into one of the most significant creative forces exported from Japan in recent history and its influence on mainstream popular culture in film, advertising, industrial design, fashion and graphic design is now regarded as nothing short of a phenomenon. Born in 1952 Amano shot to fame in the 1970s with his cartoon series ‘Gatchaman’ (G-Force) and since then has created many popular epics including the hugely successful video game series ‘Final Fantasy’. Featuring several 2 metre long aluminium panels depicting fantastical creatures, warriors, heroines and superheroes, this is a must-see show for manga buffs and manga neophytes alike.

Chan Yu 'Where is my childhood? no 9'

Chan Yu

Showcase 82 Republic!


Mixed media group show: Chan Yu, Liu Ja, Guo Hongwei, Wan Yang, Zhou Siwei
Connoisseur Gallery
1 September to 30 September 2008

September is going to be an exciting month for Connoisseur’s stable of young artists who will be exhibited in four locations across Asia. Known as the 82 Republic artists, this generation Y group of four painters and one sculptor was born in the eighties and incubated in their own dedicated gallery of the same name. Now ready for the world, their work will be shown in two of Connoisseur’s gallery spaces in Hong Kong – Connoisseur Art Gallery and Connoisseur Contemporary – as well as at the international art fairs at ShContemporary in Shanghai and KIAF in Seoul, Korea and in Connoisseur’s Singapore gallery as a parallel event of the Singapore Biennale 2008. Zhou Siwei’s cartoon-like character in ‘Infection – Astroboy no 7’ and the flat translucent shapes of Chan Yu’s ‘Where is My Childhood? No 9’ exemplify the new ‘spirit’ of this era which has been powerfully influenced by animation, toys and digital culture.

Xue Song: A Tale of Our Modern Time
Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery
4 September to 27 September

An alarming accident was responsible for a crucial turning point in Xue Song’s art practice: “In 1990, a big fire broke out in my dormitory”. His books, magazines, newspapers, pictures and prints, damaged and burnt, were “released from their frames” leaving Xue Song with a new deeper understanding of the fragmentary, mutable nature of life. From these ashes emerged the embryo of his own significant unique visual language quite distinct from his contemporaries: a language of burning, restructuring, collage and drawing. The retrospective show exhibits Xue Song’s range of interests since the fire from his pop art-coloured Mao series made in the 1990s inspired by leader portraits, model operas, big-character posters (Dazibao) and Red Guards to his more recent preoccupation with modern Shanghai and the intriguing relationship between people and cities.

New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond
Group exhibition
Hong Kong Museum of Art
22 August to 26 October 2008

“Ink has been part of our history for over 3,000 years,” says guest curator Alice King. “I want to show people how Chinese ink painting has evolved through the ages. It is no longer painted the way it was even twenty years ago”. Comprising 64 works by nearly 30 artists from Hong Kong and the mainland, this thorough survey places the increasingly popular Chinese contemporary ink genre in its historical context with a particular emphasis on the part played by Hong Kong master Lui Shou-kwan who, with his New Ink Movement, has inspired ink artists since the 1960s, amongst them Wucius Wong, Leung Kui-ting, Irene Chou and Kan Tai-keung. The exhibition looks to the future too with some controversial exhibits in the boundary-pushing section called “Is it Ink Art?” Some would say that works such as Cai Guoqiang’s gunpowder images, organic installations and digital works are not ink art at all. This show asks us to question our view of ink as a medium and to appreciate it as an essence, an aesthetic which can find expression in a variety of forms.

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Posted in Anime, Cartoon, Chinese, Collage, Cultural Revolution, Drawing, Emerging artists, Hong Kong Artists, Ink, Japanese, Manga, Mao art, Painting, Reviews, Yoshitaka Amano | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »