Tokyo Gendai's Regional Collaboration in TENNOZ ART WEEK presented by Warehouse TERRADA

A new installation performance by Tomoko Mukaiyama, GALLERY NIGHT at TERRADA ART COMPLEX, and an Exhibition by the Contemporary Art Dealers Association Nippon (CADAN) are just some of the events that were held as part of the Tokyo Gendai art fair.

Highlighting Tokyo Gendai’s Promotional Programs in Tennoz

TENNOZ ART WEEK was held in Tennoz, Tokyo, from July 7th to July 10th, 2023. During the event, numerous art collectors and aficionados flocked to Warehouse TERRADA’s neighborhood from all over the world. This collaborative project with Tokyo Gendai—an art fair held at Pacifico Yokohama—was organized by Warehouse TERRADA as the fair's partner.

While today it is known as an art district, Tennoz used to be a postwar logistics hub and warehouse district. It’s here that Warehouse TERRADA was established — in 1975, it began offering specialist art storage services and continues to operate mainly in this area to this day. The company has been expanding not only its art storage business but also other services that underpin the art industry, such as transportation, exhibition, packaging, and restoration, and the message it has been spreading in recent years is that they are making Tennoz an exciting international art capital.

TENNOZ ART WEEK made the most of Warehouse TERRADA’s art facilities. / Photo by AYA KAWACHI

Located close to both the heart of the city and Haneda Airport, Tennoz is conveniently accessible for art collectors from Japan and overseas. It is home to Japan's leading art galleries and art facilities and is open to artists, collectors, galleries, and connoisseurs. Moreover, Warehouse TERRADA has been operating bonded warehouses and a bonded gallery venue with the aim of promoting international art distribution. Connecting Tennoz with the art scene in Japan and abroad will help revitalize the art market and make the area more vibrant.

This vision turned into reality with TENNOZ ART WEEK, held in collaboration with Tokyo Gendai. During the fair, a bus service was offered between Yokohama and Tennoz, allowing many international collectors and art fans to visit the art capital, Tennoz.

figurante - a new installation performance by Tomoko Mukaiyama

Tomoko Mukaiyama “figurante” / Photo by Yukitaka Amemiya

The main program of TENNOZ ART WEEK was a new installation performance titled figurante, by Tomoko Mukaiyama, an international pianist and artist active in a wide range of disciplines, including music, art, fashion, dance, architecture, and film. The venue was a renovated warehouse facility with its 500-square-meter floor covered with piles of rice husks, some reaching almost four meters tall. The soft curves created by the natural rice husk material contrasted with the straight lines of the concrete pillars of the facility. Rice husks were falling from bags dangling from the ceiling, making a dry sound and falling to the floor like sand in an hourglass. The audience was invited to gradually enter the world of figurante, and experience the sound and sensation of stepping on the rice husks covering the floor.

Tomoko Mukaiyama “figurante” / Photo by Yukitaka Amemiya

The word figurante means ‘extra’ or ‘small role without speaking.’ As the title implies, there was no stage or audience seating at this performance. The audience members could choose to sit, lie down, or stand on the rice husks and watch the performance in whatever manner they wished.

Tomoko Mukaiyama “figurante” / Photo by Yukitaka Amemiya

At times, Mukaiyama would walk right through the audience as she moved between two separated pianos. The audience, sensing Mukaiyama's presence and the sound of her clothes rubbing against the ground nearby, was drawn into an ambiguous world where the boundary between the performer and the audience dissolved. In a space where the sound of the pianos and rice husks, the words uttered by Mukaiyama, and the shifting lighting all fuse together, figurante leaves a lingering aftertaste of tension and release.

Tomoko Mukaiyama “figurante” / Photo by Yukitaka Amemiya

CADAN : Gendai Bijutsu 2023

“CADAN : Gendai Bijutsu 2023” at WHAT CAFE / Photo by AYA KAWACHI

CADAN : Gendai Bijutsu 2023 exhibition was held at WHAT CAFE and T-LOTUS M and organized by CADAN (Contemporary Art Dealers Association Nippon), a group of 50 contemporary art galleries, and attracted numerous visitors during the exhibition period. Member galleries of CADAN presented artists in the form of solo exhibitions. Some galleries exhibited different types of works from the same artist at both Tokyo Gendai and CADAN : Gendai Bijutsu 2023, which was well appreciated by collectors who visited both the fair and Tennoz.

Exhibit on board / Photo by AYA KAWACHI

Step out of the canal-side door of WHAT CAFE, and you’d find an event space called T-LOTUS M on a ship floating on the Tennoz Canal. The lower deck featured works from artists recommended by companies, and a special exhibition, Art in Good Company, and talk were also presented through collaboration between CADAN and participating companies.

Unique cultural experiences for overseas visitors of the art fair

A workshop at PIGMENT TOKYO / Photo by AYA KAWACHI

Art materials lab PIGMENT TOKYO held workshops called “Creating a Kinpeki-ga (Painting on Gold Foil-Pressed Paper) with Pure Gold Leaf.”

While there may be many overseas collectors who have extensive experience visiting Japan, opportunities to experience Japanese painting materials and techniques are few and far between, so PIGMENT TOKYO's wide variety of Japanese painting materials, including wall-to-wall pigments, brushes, ink sticks, ink stones, and Japanese paper, draws visitors' interest. The workshop prepared for Tokyo Gendai's VIPs included a hands-on experience of the “Hira-oshi (pasting)” and “Men-puta (masking)” techniques using pure gold leaf.

For overseas visitors trying these techniques for the first time, instructions were provided with simultaneous interpretation in English and Japanese. The workshop provided them with a memorable experience, as they were able to feel the subtle shine of pure gold leaf by molding it with their own hands.

Special guided tour at WHAT MUSEUM / Photo by AYA KAWACHI

WHAT MUSEUM, a collectors’ museum of contemporary art, temporarily extended its opening hours until 21:00 for TENNOZ ART WEEK, and a guided tour with simultaneous Japanese-English interpretation was held exclusively for Tokyo Gendai VIPs.

The exhibition titled “ART de Cha Cha Cha − Exploring the DNA of Japanese Contemporary Art −” from the Takahashi Ryutaro Collection features 40 works of art by 33 artists. During the exhibition of a piece called Open Creation of Art “Immerse yourself in the transitory nature” by Masayoshi Nojo, the artist who explores unique ways of fusing Japanese and contemporary art, could be seen communicating directly with visiting collectors.

The cultural experience of getting a feel for Japan, provided by PIGMENT TOKYO and WHAT MUSEUM, will continue to provide value for overseas collectors visiting Japan for the fair.

TERRADA ART COMPLEX temporarily stayed open until 21:00 / Photo by AYA KAWACHI

TERRADA ART COMPLEX, located a few minutes walk from WHAT MUSEUM, is one of the largest gallery complexes in Japan. During the event, 19 resident galleries opened their doors until 21:00 for a special GALLERY NIGHT. Collectors could be seen enjoying the exhibits of Japan's leading art galleries in a relaxed atmosphere that differed from that of the fair venue.

TERRADA ART COMPLEX at sunset with champagne / Photo by AYA KAWACHI

As champagne and snacks were served at the cafe on the first floor and adjacent garden area, visitors were able to mingle and exchange information. While visitors were able to walk to each of the facilities hosting the event, taxis were also available to ferry people back and forth. In the summer heat, transportation and resting places were also essential to make the tour of the Tennoz art facilities as comfortable as possible.

The unique hospitality of a waterfront art district

Light performance by WOW projecting onto the T-LOTUS M sail / Photo by AYA KAWACHI

As part of the TENNOZ ART WEEK event, a light performance by the visionary artistic collective WOW lit up the Tokyo night with color.

The program titled WOW Art Exhibition: Refraction + Render featured two works—Refraction and Render—and was held at the BONDED GALLERY space in TERRADA ART COMPLEX II. The rooftop of T-LOTUS M, a ship-shaped venue floating on the Tennoz Canal, also exhibited works connected to the concept of Render. Visitors could enjoy the artwork while walking along the boardwalk or savoring the evening breeze.

A party venue with a scenic canal and warehouse cityscape

A party venue was also set up on a boat in Tennoz for the event, embracing the canal scenery. Collectors and journalists from Japan and abroad shared their thoughts on art at the River Lounge venue, where Magnus Renfrew of The Art Assembly, who organized Tokyo Gendai, and Eri Takane, the fair's director, were also in attendance.

Magnus Renfrew and Eri Takane had the following to say about Tokyo Gendai's regional collaboration and TENNOZ ART WEEK.

“The key to making an art fair a success is not only to create excitement within the fair venue, but to also build connections with the local community and to bring excitement for the arts to the wider city. We had many conversations with people at Warehouse TERRADA, and I feel that we shared the same goal of using art to bring the culture of Japan to life. The entire Tennoz area was filled with excitement, with exhibits from CADAN and the Takahashi Ryutaro collection, a special installation performance of Tomoko Mukaiyama's new work and a VIP party on the waterfront. We were able to showcase Japanese culture together, and were able to offer new discoveries to both domestic and foreign visitors. I hope that this first fair will be the first step to creating a wonderful future together. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone at Warehouse TERRADA for their great collaboration.”(Eri Takane)

“Tokyo Gendai has worked collaboratively with government agencies, private and public foundations, museums, institutions, curators, artists, collectors and of course our galleries to create a week of real impact for the art scene in Japan. We have started as we mean to go on, our vision is for Tokyo Gendai to benefit and engage the entire art scene in Japan, and to continue to work together in a spirit of collaboration for years to come. We have been delighted to partner with Warehouse TERRADA to help spotlight some of the most exciting culture happening in Japan today; our visiting VIPs had the opportunity to enjoy a great variety of exhibitions at the galleries in the TERRADA ART COMPLEX, and one of the highlights of the week was the world premiere of Tomoko Mukaiyama’s spellbinding new installation performance. The Japanese art scene is amongst the most sophisticated in the world and the market has incredible potential; we look forward to building on the successes of the inaugural edition of Tokyo Gendai with our partners and stakeholders over the coming years to help broaden awareness of the richness and vibrancy of the Japanese cultural scene, and to build greater connectivity between Japan and the global art community.”(Magnus Renfrew)

The first Tokyo Gendai Fair closed on July 9, 2023, after being met with great enthusiasm.

While much attention has been paid to the number of visitors and sales at the fair, the rippling impact on various regions must also be taken into consideration.

The international art fair serves to attract galleries, collectors, and the like from abroad to the metropolis of Tokyo. The success of the next international art fair will be linked not only to the venue but also to the spread of its effects to Tokyo and other parts of Japan and to the boosting of the Japanese art scene as a whole.

We hope that Warehouse TERRADA’s TENNOZ ART WEEK will be used as a case study to further refine regional collaboration at art fairs in major cities.

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