10 Things in Tokyo: December 2016

A short list of events and exhibitions happening in Tokyo and beyond in December

poster for Keiichi Tanaami “Dream Fragment”

Keiichi Tanaami “Dream Fragment”

at Gallery 360 Degrees
in the Omotesando, Aoyama area
This event has ended - (2016-11-16 - 2016-12-28)

poster for Charlotte Dumas “Stay”

Charlotte Dumas “Stay”

at Gallery 916
in the Odaiba, Kachidoki area
This event has ended - (2016-10-07 - 2016-12-25)

poster for Ken Takakura

Ken Takakura

at Tokyo Station Gallery
in the Ginza, Marunouchi area
This event has ended - (2016-11-19 - 2017-01-15)

poster for Tracing the Past— An Insight into Thai Contemporary Art Scene

Tracing the Past— An Insight into Thai Contemporary Art Scene

at NCA | Nichido Contemporary Art
in the Kyobashi, Nihonbashi area
This event has ended - (2016-11-25 - 2017-01-14)

poster for Yuta Hirai “Biocracy”

Yuta Hirai “Biocracy”

at Kitakore Building
in the Musashino, Tama area
This event has ended - (2016-11-22 - 2016-12-24)

poster for Nobuaki Ito “A¯to and Artist”

Nobuaki Ito “A¯to and Artist”

at Waitingroom
in the Ebisu, Daikanyama area
This event has ended - (2016-11-26 - 2016-12-25)

poster for Unclear nuclear

Unclear nuclear

at Urano
in the Tokyo: Others area
This event has ended - (2016-11-26 - 2017-01-07)

In Features by TABlog Editors 2016-12-07

Keiichi Tanaami “Dream Fragment”

Keiichi Tanaami, a pioneer of postwar graphic design known for his psychedelic pop visions, is enjoying something of a revival. Following exhibitions abroad in recent years he returns to his home base at Omotesando’s Gallery 360° with 24 collages begun and abandoned in the late 1960s and early 1970s, pieces he has retrieved from a closet and refashioned scrap by scrap with long-forgotten materials. Magazine cut-outs of Madonnas, playboy bunnies, cartoon superheroes, and other eye-popping characters compete for space in his compositions as Tanaami draws on his illustrious past to prove his imagination remains as vivid as ever. Through December 10.

 

Return of Hokusai

The Sumida Hokusai Museum opened its doors just a few weeks ago in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, birthplace of Ukiyo-e master Katsushika Hokusai. For its first exhibition, the stunning modernistic facility celebrates the “return” of Hokusai in two senses of the word: first in masterpieces from collections around the world brought home to roost, and second in the rediscovery and repatriation of Hokusai’s picture scroll “Sumidagawa Ryogan Keshiki Zukan” (Landscape Scroll of Scenery at Both Banks of the Sumida River), a rare work lost for more than a century. In addition to a permanent collection showing some of the artist’s most famous prints, you can check out interactive displays and a reproduction of Hokusai’s studio. Ends January 15.

 

Susumu Shingu “Space Ship”

Sculpture and mobile artist Susumu Shingu considers his works to be a dialogue with nature, exemplified by ecologically minded architectural structures and installations at the Wind Museum sculpture park designed to translate elements of wind and water into movements conveying messages from the Earth. In an exhibition expressing a sense of wonder at “having been born a human being in this vast universe filled with stars,” Shingu has converted the Yokosuka Museum of Art and its grounds into a spaceship with new and recent indoor mobiles and outdoor installations from his Wind Caravan series. Through December 25.

 

Charlotte Dumas “Stay”

The airy, well-lit space of Gallery 916 is one of Tokyo’s most inviting venues for viewing photography. It currently displays new works by Charlotte Dumas, a Dutch photographer with a long-time interested in the relationships between humans and animals who spent two years documenting eight indigenous Japanese horse breeds across the country. Her images capturing the weathered, matted manes and majestic dignity of these creatures invite us to step into their world and breathe with them, rediscovering our instinctive and enduring ties. Ends December 25.

 

Ken Takakura Retrospective

Japanese cinema buffs will want to go to the effort of booking a space at Tokyo Station Gallery’s by-reservation-only show surveying the career of the late Ken Takakura, an actor whose career moved in lock-step with Japan’s postwar resurgence and cinematic golden age. All 205 films featuring the brooding star of Black Rain, The Yellow Handkerchief, and other classics are represented in spectacular larger-than-life fashion, with special displays by Daido Moriyama and Tadanori Yokoo ramping up the artistry in rooms filled with stills, video installations, props, scripts, and more. Please see the official website for reservations.  Through January 15.

 

Tracing the Past— An Insight into Thai Contemporary Art Scene

Whilst most art fans will be familiar with the likes of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Navin Rawanchaikul, there is of course much more to Thai contemporary art than these particular figures. nca | nichido contemporary art sets out to highlight the work of four key artists who are currently enjoying particular popularity not only upon the Thai art scene but internationally as well. The watercolors of Tawan Wattuya depict naked bodies, mass orgies, marching troops and jet bombers. Former artist in residence of Koganecho Bazaar 2013 Torlarp Larpjaroensook, known for his mobile gallery “3147966”, works across painting and mixed media with humorous resourcefulness. CLA graduate Dusadee Huntrakul employs sculptural drawing to critique self-censorship and financial pursuits, whilst Bangkok-based Soichiro Shimizu examines inherent contradictions between material and action in excavations of nature and artifice. Each artist offers up a lyrical expressive power in reflection upon Thailand’s current situation. Through January 14.

 

Yuta Hirai “Biocracy”

Searching out another form of existence which circumvents the snare of domination by the forces of politics and capital “Biocracy” asserts a social value system which prioritizes life, and not just merely human life but the very life of the natural environment, which we have exploited and neglected in equal measures. Questioning a world dominated by human control, which is apt to failure, particularly in the aftermath of 3.11, this exhibition draws upon Hirai’s recent publication of 36 interviews with politicians, cultural figures, activists and even children born on March 11, 2011, highlighting how we have paid a great disservice to nature and how we are still dependent upon its mercy. Through December 24.

 

Nobuaki Ito “A¯to and Artist”
Whilst drawing on an ironic humor Nobuaki Ito charges on full throttle to tackle the big questions of life/death, the body and the spirit. Known for works involving the naked artist pounding upon a lump of flesh, whilst holding a stethoscope to his heart, in proof he is alive, or a film juxtaposing his own slumberous body alongside the last dying gasps of his grandmother, for his exhibition at Waitingroom he questions the very nature of art itself through two video work which frame different positions to the production, consumption and institutionalization of art, whilst also making correlations between the role of the artist and the mass recruitment drives of large corporations. Through December 25.

 

Unclear nuclear

Whilst many may feel that artistic critiques of Fukushima have been exhausted or have fallen rather flat, Unclear nuclear brings a revival of work dealing with nuclear disaster, simultaneously drawing correlations between Fukushima, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Crossing the subjects of the destruction of war and the ill-advised ideals of “miracle energy”, this exhibition does not flinch from confronting the complex contradictions of nation which was victim to the atomic bomb, and constitutionally committed to “no nukes”, but which at the same time readily accepted nuclear power with open arms and developed an energy infrastructure 30% dependent upon fission. Here seven artists of various career histories and backgrounds come together under the direction of collector Hideyuki Shimabayashi and present a survey of Japan’s nuclear fall-out through photography, video, painting and sculpture. Through January 7.

 

Ryudai Takano “Distance and Time”

Darling of the Japanese photography art world, Ryudai Takano has been enjoying much critical acclaim in recent years, perhaps only heightened by the censorship of his work at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art in 2014. Whilst many may know Takano particularly for his work which tackles sexual expression and diversity, his commitment to the practice of photography may be seen through his “Everyday Photography” series, in which he has taken a photograph every day without fail since 1998. This exhibition at NADiff a/p/a/r/t reveals the sensitive eye of Takano upon the spaces of the city and the presence of its inhabitants. Whilst making studies in the passage of light and darkness he brings to our focus the relation between the sentient body and the concrete spaces of the urban environment, considering the interlocution and transgression which occurs here. “When the absence of light touches the ground Distance is lost and distance create” is also showing at Yumiko Chiba Associates viewing room Shinjuku at the same time. Through January 9.

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