At the Front Line

A new art fair (and art fair business model) is born in Tokyo.

poster for

"Tokyo Frontline" Exhibition

at 3331 Arts Chiyoda
in the Chiyoda area
This event has ended - (2011-02-17 - 2011-02-20)

In Photo Reports by William Andrews 2011-02-17

Unofficially inheriting the crown of the inaugural “101TOKYO”, a new art fair has arrived at 3331 Arts Chiyoda.

“Tokyo Frontline” is, its creators hope, part of a five-year plan to develop the art fair model: rather than only having gallery booths, the event focuses on a selection of thirty-eight artists from across the gallery spectrum. These are exhibited alongside open ‘presentation’ spaces for galleries, design organizations and print media.

Happening the same week as “G-Tokyo” and the Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions, it also marks the start of a busy calendar in Tokyo as we head towards “Roppongi Art Night” and “Art Fair Tokyo”.

The venue, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, is a former school building and also was where the first "101TOKYO" was held.

Red was the theme colour for the event...

...including the carpet.

And even the staff uniforms.

In the 'Exchange' presentations space downstairs, a rhino sculpture by Chie Hitotsuyama lay on the ground surrounded by flowers.

A Bugs Bunny-esque work by Ken Kagami.

Not a booth but a 'presentation space', here by the New Tokyo Contemporaries (Aoyama Meguro, Arataniurano, Zenshi, Take Ninagawa, Misako & Rosen, Mujin-to Productions and Yuka Sasahara Gallery).

Galerie Garand Siecle from Taiwan, with video works by Chen I-Chun and Chen Wan-Jen.

The 'Exchange' space seen from behind the window at the Insideout/Tokyo Project room, with 'Toysaurus' by Hiroshi Fuji.

Downstairs the first of two galleries with the selected thirty-eight artists' works for sale.

Staff in striking red getting more acquainted with the works before the event opens. To the left is a furry dog with a baseball bat up its rear, courtesy of Ken Kagami.

Unfortunately when TABlog was at the press preview the second downstairs gallery was still under construction! People weren't sure whether it was safe to venture across the barricade.

If you did you were confronted by a gang of Takahiro Komuro sculptures.

The upstairs 'Gym' space was more conventional in its layout, with two pathways of gallery booths.

In the middle, a hanging light installation by Yuichi Higashionna.

At the Snow Contemporary gallery booth, sculptures by Hideki Iinuma were from his 'Sniper Girls Collection' series. The artist, long resident in Europe and showing in Japan for the first time, based the 3D works on photos he took of shoppers on the street.

At Korea's Gallery Jinsun booth, Kim Byung-Jin's 'Apple-love' was one of several fruit objects formed out of brand motifs.

Many of the galleries were non-Japanese or fairly young. Mori Yu Gallery, though, was one of the established names participating, here with more Hiroshi Fuji.

The 'Gym' space was in fact taking place in the old school gymnasium, as witnessed by some of the leftover fittings.

Snow on the ground from the blizzard a few days before. As Tokyo heads into spring the art fair season has begun.

William Andrews

William Andrews. William Andrews came to Japan in 2004. He first lived in Osaka, where he was a translator for Kansai Art Beat. Arriving in Tokyo in 2008, he now works as an writer, editor and translator. He writes a blog about Japanese radicalism and counterculture ( and one about Tokyo contemporary theatre ( He is the author of Dissenting Japan: A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture, from 1945 to Fukushima. » See other writings


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