Art in Residence

A colorful, dynamically designed loft in Mitaka proves to be an atypical setting for an exhibition of landscape photography.

poster for

"Respontes de Artututu" Exhibition

at Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka
in the Musashino, Tama area
This event has ended - (2007-12-08 - 2009-01-01)

In Reviews by Darryl Jingwen Wee 2008-02-07

Galleries generally have a hard time avoiding the white cube format because they have to be protean and characterless enough to accommodate different exhibits. Once in a while you will stumble upon a total installation that works in ensemble – the Wiener Werkstatte in Vienna, or the vaguely kooky Gustave Moreau Museum in Paris. True ‘total’ artworks and their settings are rare.

In a quiet area of Mitaka in Tokyo, however, there is a true cabinet of wonder that is extraordinary in its conception and presentation.

A jumble of cubes and spheres in bright primary colors. There are 9 units spread over three storeys.If you trip while trying to navigate the little sunken depressions at least you have a bar to grab on to.

In one unit of a residential project called the Reversible Destiny Lofts, the architecture dovetails perfectly with the owner’s activities and intentions. Photographer Tak S. Iitomi and his partner and writer Izumi Ashikari have converted their Loft into a home studio and photo gallery, called “Respontes du Artututu,” their personal artistic response to the architects’ creative gambit.

The photos are hung loosely with bits of cord strung through iron rings welded to the ceiling, placed slapdash against curved surfaces (the Lofts have hardly any straight edges), crisscrossed in a web in the Loft’s spherical room which Izumi tells me to lie down in. The experience is like that of a four year old stumbling through a playground, of genuine wonder and enchantment. The tactile encounter comes first, analysis later.

A pod-room where you can view Iitomi's photos while lounging supine.Storage solutions dangle from the ceiling - chains, hooks, power cords.

Iitomi is a landscape and nature photography specialist. His special technique was developed for arid terrain, in Nevada and New Mexico, for example. The otherworldly brightness of these exposures is mirrored in the candy-colored hues of the Loft’s interior, and their aridity and expansiveness cleverly twinned in the stucco floor with its little rocky “dunes” – all of which recall adobe mud dwellings. There is a kind of magical transport at work here, the landscaped interior and architecture of the Loft serving as a platform to catapult you into the photographs of other landscapes farther away.

Visited on a mundane, drizzly afternoon in Tokyo, the Loft seemed to offer a whiff of a potentially reversible destiny: one in which the drudgery of boring suburbia has been turned into exotic travel and wanderlust.

Darryl Jingwen Wee

Darryl Jingwen Wee. Born and raised in Singapore, Darryl graduated from Harvard College in 2006 with a BA in French, and currently works as a writer, translator and interpreter based in Tokyo. He edits and translates TAB event listings and writes about art, architecture and food for WSJ, Art Asia Pacific, Artforum.com, Bauwelt, Paper Sky and Singapore Architect. » See other writings

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