Last Updated:Aug 13, 2013

Art Fair Tokyo 2010

The biggest event in the Japanese art calendar kicked off at the International Forum.

At the special preview on Thursday night this year’s fair at the International Forum did seem quieter, with 138 exhibitors (down slightly from 143 in 2009). Though there was the noticeable absence of major galleries like Mizuma, Wako and Radi-um — as well as, except for an event at Vacant, the even more noticeable and lamented absence of a satellite fair — it was business as usual: hundreds of booths, featuring everything from antiques to contemporary art, nihonga to sculpture. Those looking to purchase art works aside, “Art Fair Tokyo” is a good chance simply to see the big galleries represented all in one place, and also an opportunity to take in Hong Kong, Korean and Chinese galleries’ work.

As with last year there was a second space, now called “Projects”, hosting the ‘hip’ and up-and-coming galleries. This time it wasn’t relegated to a separate building but located on the ground floor, in fact probably encountered by visitors before they even enter the main exhibition area. Here there were some new entries into the art fair world: Zen Foto, Asian Collection, and Yuka Contemporary, among others.

The usual dilemma of where to start at such a vast event.
The usual dilemma of where to start at such a vast event.
Photo: William Andrews

Gallery Koyanagi went all out for a minimalist booth this year.
Gallery Koyanagi went all out for a minimalist booth this year.
Photo: William Andrews

Osamu Kokufu, 'parabolic garden' (2010). Eco art on legs at Art Court Gallery, Osaka.
Osamu Kokufu, 'parabolic garden' (2010). Eco art on legs at Art Court Gallery, Osaka.
Photo: William Andrews

Julian Opie-esque video screen paintings by Masaharu Sato, at the imura art gallery (Kyoto) booth caught the eye.
Julian Opie-esque video screen paintings by Masaharu Sato, at the imura art gallery (Kyoto) booth caught the eye.
Photo: William Andrews

Tomio Koyama hard at work meeting and greeting all the visitors. The large sculpture 'girl' (2009) by Rieko Otake is in the foreground.
Tomio Koyama hard at work meeting and greeting all the visitors. The large sculpture 'girl' (2009) by Rieko Otake is in the foreground.
Photo: William Andrews

Nara Yoshitomo works on the wall of the Tomio Koyama booth.
Nara Yoshitomo works on the wall of the Tomio Koyama booth.
Photo: William Andrews
Berengo Akatsu Collection was giving out free ice cream to visitors, surely a guaranteed way to pull in the punters.
Berengo Akatsu Collection was giving out free ice cream to visitors, surely a guaranteed way to pull in the punters.
Photo: William Andrews

The second space, 'Projects', this year was held on the ground floor, divided into two areas.
The second space, 'Projects', this year was held on the ground floor, divided into two areas.
Photo: William Andrews

Photo: William Andrews

Art fairs are usually marked by rows of uniform white booths, so galleries that try something different stand out. Yukari Art Contemporary converted their space into an installation by Osaka unit Yodogawa-Technique.
Art fairs are usually marked by rows of uniform white booths, so galleries that try something different stand out. Yukari Art Contemporary converted their space into an installation by Osaka unit Yodogawa-Technique.
Photo: William Andrews

Yodogawa-Technique's work is characterized by its re-used materials.
Yodogawa-Technique's work is characterized by its re-used materials.
Photo: William Andrews

A moment of calm. 'Yoga - prana' (2010) by Ikki Miyake at the Yokoi Fine Art booth.
A moment of calm. 'Yoga - prana' (2010) by Ikki Miyake at the Yokoi Fine Art booth.
Photo: William Andrews

'Storage Element' by Kouji Simon, at the Gallery Simon booth.
'Storage Element' by Kouji Simon, at the Gallery Simon booth.
Photo: William Andrews
Hiroshi Ohashi, ''Onotsukuni' (2010), at Wada Fine Arts.
Hiroshi Ohashi, ''Onotsukuni' (2010), at Wada Fine Arts.
Photo: William Andrews

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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 (<a href="https://throwoutyourbooks.wordpress.com/">ThrowOutYourBooks.wordpress.com</a>) and one about Tokyo contemporary theatre (<a href="http://www.tokyostages.wordpress.com">TokyoStages.wordpress.com</a>). He is the author of <em>Dissenting Japan: A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture, from 1945 to Fukushima</em>.

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