Roppongi Art Night 2014

Some highlights from the annual art weekender.

poster for Roppongi Art Night 2014

Roppongi Art Night 2014

at Roppongi Hills Arena
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2014-04-19 - 2014-04-20)

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In Photo Reports by Nick West 2014-04-27

Roppongi Art Night Latern

The annual contemporary art event in Roppongi saw the bustling district open its shopping walkways and museum complexes up to a variety of workshops, installations and performances. Shopping arcades became stages and galleries, while fashion stores provided clothes for video installations. By combining its artistic program with participating galleries, restaurants and shops that remained open until sunrise on Sunday morning, the event sought to combine shopping with gallery-going, and even made it possible to catch a major museum retrospective after the nightclubs had closed their doors. Which isn’t to say that the event was limited to a nocturnal schedule, as there were plenty of pre-program events held during the daytime too.

Directed by Katsuhiko Hibino, this year’s theme was “Move Your Body”. Lending itself well to the medium of performance art, this theme produced a variety of interventions and involved the sound of a large number of participants, including the patter of footsteps that accompanied those dancing to their mp3 players at the silent disco, as well as Japan Women’s College for Physical Education who danced their way along Seijoki Dori to a far more audible beat.

Tatsuo Miyajima's leaflet about 'Counter Void'

Roppongi Art Night also included a few talks. One of which was the beginning of a discussion by the artist Tatsuo Miyajima. Next to Roppongi Hills is Miyajima’s large public installation, Counter Void (2003). Unfortunately, the work has been switched off since 3.11. In the talk, he discussed the reason why the artwork was turned off and the possibility of it being illuminated again. Miyajima expressed caution about whether switching it on may be perceived as a sign of recovery, or whether the reactivation of this work will need be altered to reflect recent changes. In a leaflet distributed at the talk, he published a call for the artwork to be reborn that has subsequently become a Facebook campaign too.

Nishio Yoshinari, 'People's House Skirt' (2014) Traditional dances took place on stage and strips of fabric billowed above to the beat of taiko drums. This was one of three works that Nishio exhibited. Collectively, all three works are called “The Body in Connection Project”.

Lee Wen, 'Ping Pong Go Around' (2014) A circular table tennis table was on display for everyone to use in Tokyo Midtown’s first floor plaza.

Nishio Yoshinari, ‘Floral Prints/Flower’ (2014) Made from floral patterned fabrics, this giant flower stood over two metres tall in Tokyo Midtown. On the other side of this display were piles of textiles, rows of sewing machines and willing tailors.

Kikuna Mishima, ‘Tamate-Box’ (2011) In Roppongi Hills’ A/D Gallery, Kikuna Mishuma displayed an exhibition of photographic prints. The show was called ‘Stranger’. In this photo, she created a life-size box and used her own body as a packaged product.

Henry Irawan, ‘Originality is Nonexistent’ (2014) On the Tokyo City View observation deck, four young artists from Indonesia exhibited recent works. This piece, by Irawan, comprised of ready-made icons and hundreds of pins, was an invitation to arrange the pins and the icons as you wished.

Mateus Bondan, ‘Big Money’ (2014) Crumpled aluminium sheets were digitally printed with Indonesian rupiah and stood in the centre of the space at the Tokyo City View observation deck.

Sato Yu, ‘Gorogoro Roppongi’ (2014) A bamboo sphere three metres in diameter made its way around Tokyo Midtown’s courtyard, with a procession in tow.

SHIMURAbros, ‘EICON/SAFETY LAST’ (2014) Brother and sister duo SHIMURAbros have been creating installations informed by cinema for years. In this piece, they used costumes from stores in Roppongi Hills to create slow motion scenes presented on three screens. Smoking pistols, coils of rope and falling protagonists formed several of the narratives displayed.

NONOTAK studio, ‘DAYDREAM V.2’ (2013) Installed in the entrance foyer of the Grand Hyatt Tokyo Lobby were two sets of screens positioned at a ninety degree angle from one another. Pulsating white lines created the illusion of depth and movement in an immersive installation by the French collaborative duo.

Nick West

Nick West. Originally from Brighton in the UK, Nick West first visited Japan to curate a solo show in Kyushu. Captivated by Japan’s bewildering calligraphy, its art history and the Mars-like surface of Mount Aso, he left London’s galleries for Tokyo in 2010. He currently teaches fine art and English in Shibuya, but spends his weekends stumbling across public art, loitering in galleries and scribbling notes whilst he researches a showcase of contemporary Japanese art at www.gensojapan.org. His blood group is A positive, so his personality traits include being earnest, creative, sensible, reserved, patient and responsible: most of which he denies. » See other writings

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