Newspapers Roundup #6

The past couple weeks’ art and design columns as read in the Japan Times, Daily Yomiuri, and Asahi online newspapers.

In In the News by Paul Baron 2006-12-07

Asahi.com : In Sight/Arts

Star Choices / Arts Festival in Kanagawa (12/01)

Ranking among the most popular winter events in Yokohama, the International Arts Festival in Kanagawa opens this month. This year’s lineup includes six events, from chamber music to theater and dance to art exhibition over a two-month period at two Yokohama venues…

Daily Yomiuri Online : Arts Weekend

The second coming of Shinro Ohtake (12/02)

If you’re planning to visit the Shinro Ohtake retrospective now on at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. With over 2,000 works spread over the entire extent of the museum–one of Tokyo’s biggest–you’ll be on your feet for a long time if you try to take in every aspect of this blockbuster show…
TAB event data: Shinro Ohtake “Zenkei” (until 12/24)

David Claerbout captures time on tape (11/25)

Belgian artist David Claerbout has come to Tokyo with two short films that will be showing as continuous loops at the Nichido Contemporary Art gallery in Yurakucho until Dec. 16. This is Claerbout’s second show in Japan, following participation in the Yokohama Museum of Art exhibition Contemporary Photography III–Non-sect Radical in 2004. It is somewhat contradictory to call these “short films” when in fact each of them runs for about 13 hours in their full duration. And, although each takes as its subject a timeless theme of rivalry, Claerbout’s real theme is probably best defined as time itself…
TAB event data: David Claerbout Exhibition (until 12/16)

The art of ‘Super Escher’ (12/02)

An exhibition of about 180 works by Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972), the Dutch artist known for his exquisite illusionism, is being held at the Bunkamura Museum of Art in Shibuya, Tokyo. “Super Escher–Tracing the Creative Path of a Unique Print Artist” is a major retrospective, showing the background to his creative output and his mastery of techniques including woodblock printing through works chosen from the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the Netherlands. Many of the exhibits, including his early works and production memos, are displayed for the first time in Japan…
TAB event data: “Super Escher” Exhibition (until 2007/01/13)

‘Paprika’ spices up the anime aesthetic (11/25)

The opening minutes of Paprika introduce the pivotal character of police detective Konakawa (voiced by Akio Otuska), and his recurring nightmare, which revolves around the spliced-and-looped discovery of a homicide victim. Director Satoshi Kon then undercuts this traumatic vignette with references to a roll call of Hollywood standards, like Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth, Tarzan the Ape Man, Roman Holiday, and Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, all rolled up into one sweet dream sequence…

Tokyo gets its own mini-Louvre (11/25)

The Louvre Museum and Dai Nippon Printing Co. (DNP) have joined forces to create the Louvre-DNP Museum Lab, a Tokyo exhibition space for the display of artworks from the French museum’s collection. The space at the DNP Gotanda Building in Shinagawa Ward will operate until 2009, displaying one work at a time for six months each. The opening work is Un Carabineer, an oil painting by French painter Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) that will be on display until March 10…

Tajikistan film wins top prize at FilmEx (12/02)

A coming-of-age film from Tajikistan won the grand prize at the Tokyo FilmEx film festival. To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die is about 20-year-old Kamal, who has been married for months, but is unable to consummate the union. One day he meets an attractive woman and follows her home, where the woman’s husband appears after a long absence. The story is told in a simple and quiet tone, but it maintains a tense atmosphere. The movie was awarded the top prize Sunday “for the cinematic intelligence the filmmaker demonstrates in creating a fluid and dynamic relationship among characters, environment and narrative,” according to the five-member jury headed by Kim Dong Ho, director of the Pusan International Film Festival…

The Japan Times Online

Toru Seno: From Cradle to Grave (12/07)

An icon is an image that gains mystical and symbolic power by being artistically emphasized. The four works by 38-year-old artist Toru Seno in his first solo exhibition at Tokyo’s Maru Gallery are a good example of this. Seno selects objects that are already ripe with meaning — such as a Stone Age arrowhead, a sunflower seed or a woman’s nipple — then brings out their full iconic potential by focusing on them in enlarged, precise pencil drawings mounted on canvas.
TAB event data: Toru Seno “From Cradle To Grave” (until 12/30)

“Hiroshi Sugimoto: Art Capturing” (12/07)

“Look at what I’m thinking,” are the last words of the poem Jonathan Safran Foer wrote to accompany Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs in the book “Joe.” They could just as easily be a concise description of the artist’s approach toward his art. One of the most philosophical of photographers, Sugimoto attempts to capture on film ideas that he arrives at long before he even has a camera in hand or a subject to point it at…
TAB event data: Hiroshi Sugimoto “Art Capturing” (until 2007/01/27)

Paul Baron

Paul Baron. Born in 1977 in Paris. After graduating in 2002 from the London College of Communication, he moved to Tokyo to taste Japan's powerful visual culture. After 3 years at Honda R&D as an interaction designer and his 2004 launch of Tokyo Art Beat with Olivier and Kosuke, he now works as a usability and information designer at AQ, a Tokyo-based design & web agency. After-hours, he enjoys holding on to his rapidly fading unofficial title for biggest visitor of art exhibits in Tokyo and baking all sorts of cakes in his new Ikea kitchen. » See other writings

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