Last Updated:Aug 13, 2013

At the Front Line

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

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...
Red was the theme colour for the event...
Photo: William Andrews

...including the carpet.
...including the carpet.
Photo: William Andrews

And even the staff uniforms.
And even the staff uniforms.
Photo: William Andrews

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

A Bugs Bunny-esque work by Ken Kagami.
A Bugs Bunny-esque work by Ken Kagami.
Photo: William Andrews

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).
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).
Photo: William Andrews

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

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

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

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.
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.
Photo: William Andrews

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.
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.
Photo: William Andrews



If you did you were confronted by a gang of Takahiro Komuro sculptures.
If you did you were confronted by a gang of Takahiro Komuro sculptures.
Photo: William Andrews

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

In the middle, a hanging light installation by Yuichi Higashionna.
In the middle, a hanging light installation by Yuichi Higashionna.
Photo: William Andrews

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 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.
Photo: William Andrews

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

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.
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.
Photo: William Andrews

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

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