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.
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.
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”.
A circular table tennis table was on display for everyone to use in Tokyo Midtown’s first floor plaza.
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.
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.
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.
Crumpled aluminium sheets were digitally printed with Indonesian rupiah and stood in the centre of the space at the Tokyo City View observation deck.
A bamboo sphere three metres in diameter made its way around Tokyo Midtown’s courtyard, with a procession in tow.
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.
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.