10 Things in Tokyo: June 2017

Events and exhibitions happening in Tokyo this month.

poster for Daisuke Ohba Exhibition

Daisuke Ohba Exhibition

at SCAI The Bathhouse
in the Ueno, Yanaka area
This event has ended - (2017-05-19 - 2017-06-24)

poster for Eric Carle Exhibition

Eric Carle Exhibition

at Setagaya Art Museum
in the Setagaya, Kawasaki area
This event has ended - (2017-04-22 - 2017-07-02)

poster for Dayanita Singh, Museum Bhavan

Dayanita Singh, Museum Bhavan

at Tokyo Photographic Art Musem
in the Ebisu, Daikanyama area
This event has ended - (2017-05-20 - 2017-07-17)

poster for Setsu Nagasawa 100th Anniversary: Master of Drawing, Charismatic Leader of Setsu Mode Seminar

Setsu Nagasawa 100th Anniversary: Master of Drawing, Charismatic Leader of Setsu Mode Seminar

at Yayoi Museum
in the Ueno, Yanaka area
This event has ended - (2017-04-01 - 2017-06-25)

poster for Abraham Cruzvillegas “The Water Trilogy 2: Autodefensión Microtonal Obrera Campesina Estudiantil Metabolista Descalza”

Abraham Cruzvillegas “The Water Trilogy 2: Autodefensión Microtonal Obrera Campesina Estudiantil Metabolista Descalza”

at Maison Hermès
in the Ginza, Marunouchi area
This event has ended - (2017-04-21 - 2017-07-02)

In Features by Jennifer Pastore 2017-06-02

Kentaro Kobuke, Left: 'Dawn' (2017) color pencil on wood,  84.1 x 59.5 cm, Right: 'The Crescent' (2017) color pencil on wood, 84.1cm x 59.5cm ©Kentaro Kobuke / Maho Kubota Gallery

Daisuke Ohba’s pearlescent acrylics have a mesmerizing pull that is difficult to rationalize. Perhaps it’s enough to be drawn in by the deceptive simplicity of their rich textures and rainbow sheen. Unwaveringly preoccupied with “relations, chance, dimension, and lighting,” Ohba exhibits works in his signature style along with black-based paintings indicating shifts in new directions. As always, SCAI the Bathhouse provides the perfect sanctuary for his works of quiet brilliance. Through June 24.

Another mid-career Japanese artist to watch is Kentaro Kobuke, whose mottled pastels in color pencil on cherry wood depict charming scenes filled with nature, strange creatures, and intimate relationships. Kobuke’s work can be seen at Maho Kubota Gallery’s Hiroshima Color through June 24. Though separated by decades and a continent, the works of Kobuke and Eric Carle display overlaps in themes and color schemes that are joyful to behold. The Art of Eric Carle at the Setagaya Art Museum through July 2 features illustrations by this best-selling author of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and other staples of children’s libraries.

Two of June’s must-see photography shows are Dayanita Singh’s Museum Bhavan and Photographer Saul Leiter: A Retrospective. Fed up with depicting her home country for the Western male gaze, Singh turned from photojournalism to art photography in the late-90s. She has since been creating what she calls “portable museums” portraying life in India as she sees it from both documentary and fictional perspectives. (At TOP Museum through July 17). Color photography pioneer Saul Leiter is celebrated for his achievements with the camera and his fluency in Japanese aesthetics at Bunkamura through June 25. Don’t miss Leiter’s paintings (a source of inspiration for his film work), or his recently discovered nude portraits. MuPon app users can claim 100 yen off admission to the Leiter show.

Other MuPon picks for this month include Japan, Archipelago of Houses: The Designs That Took A French Architect By Surprise. Here French architects (including one based in Japan) chart the evolution of Japanese homes in 70 exemplar structures, detailing how Japanese abodes function as responses to their geography, economy, and culture. Ends June 25.

Preaching the gospel of the “slender, ambiguous, and delicate,” Setsu Nagasawa was a 20th century fashion designer and illustrator who left a mark on the industry with his Mode Seminar art school and androgynous “Setsu Aesthetics.” The Yayoi Museum presents some 300 of his costume drawings and recreations of the 1967 Mono Sex Mode fashion show. Through June 25. (MuPon).

100100000000 Light-Year Tunnel brings together the work of three cutting-edge artists with prints by mezzotint master Yozo Hamaguchi. Tsunao Okumura is a night watchman who has used 1,000 hours on the job to produce embroidery he considers a form of performance art. Nerhol, known for photo sculptures revealing temporal blips, offers new work in this line and a recent tree trunk-inspired series. Nanae Mitobe is another young creative who explores physical textures as expressions of time. She joins this trio with her luscious impasto paintings that push the limits of the two-dimensional. Ends August 6. (MuPon).

Maison Hermès Le Forum’s glass cube gallery hosts part two of Abraham Cruzvillegas’ international Water Trilogy. The Mexican artist has a penchant for found objects, constructing site-specific works rooted in local culture. For his Japan show, he has created hulking installations of bamboo, recycled paper, and boiled rice glue referencing influences as diverse as Isamu Noguchi, the Metabolist movement, Nakagin Capsule Tower, and Latin American music. See how his love of “beautiful chaos” plays out in Ginza through July 2.

The French claim another foothold in the Tokyo art world with an Emmanuel Perrotin gallery opening June 7 at the Piramide Building (also home to Wako Works of Art and Ota Fine Arts). The contemporary art kingpin launches his third space in Asia with a solo show for Pierre Soulages, a venerated nonagenarian abstractionist whose obsession with reaching an “outrenoir” (beyond black) state stems from his desire to harness reflections of light. He and Ohba might find much to discuss.

Jennifer Pastore

Jennifer Pastore. Jennifer Pastore is a Tokyo Art Beat editor. » See other writings

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