Art and Beer: Kunst Oktoberfest

Halloween was the perfect day to hop on the bus (two buses, to be precise) that were circling the Chuo-ku and Ginza galleries, and see a whole lots of art in a very short time. Twenty six galleries in all, ranging from the more established Galerie Sho Contemporary, nichido contemporary and Koyanagi, to name a few, to the younger Frantic, Wada and CASHI hosted a stream of art and beer lovers. The buses, as it could be expected, ran right on schedule, stopping at each gallery every twenty minutes to give just enough time to skim an exhibition, or allowing to stay longer if the show was bigger or particularly interesting. Due to a trick-or-treating appointment later in the evening I was only able to take advantage of the south route and see about half of the galleries. Here is my short report.

The sculpture of the girl holding a goose by its paws is among several humorous fairy tale fantasies by Hiroshi Ohashi, his works could be seen at Wada Fine Arts in Tsukiji. A disturbing twist on the fairy tale motif is offered by Ryu Ebato’s Emotion works shown at the ART★AIGA in Hachibori. The gallery website describes her paintings as “comical, cute, [and] a little frighten[ed].” The work featured on the Aiga homepage shows Ebato’s protagonist activating the glowing charcoals of her eyes and her agape mouth by a twofold pull on the tresses, thus hitting a hollow note amplified by the transparent layer of acrylic set on unprimed canvas.

On the other end of the visual/sensory spectrum is Ren Jing’s solo exhibition. The young Chinese artist, whose first show in Japan is hosted by Unseal Contemporary, mixes vestiges of Communism (red kerchiefs around girls’ necks) with pain and violence (red eyes, blood smears on girls’ faces). His very accomplished red paintings bring to mind Filip Maliavin’s visions in red, only here the color, rather ominously, links political and sexual bondage.
A floor above Unseal Contemporary is the Frantic Gallery (formerly Art Project Frantic), whose first showing of Haruki Ogawa’s Irritated Figures will be the subject of a separate blog entry. This show will be on through November 21st—a definite must-see.
Some very interesting figurative works were in the group show of Clara Desire, Masako and Motoko Otsuki at Galerie Sho Contemporary. Taguchi fine art was featuring Simon Morley’s word paintings, and Arataniurano presented Izumi Keiji’s wood and epoxy sculptures of figures with fantastic(al) nature-themed outgrowths (now waterfalls, now trees, now rocks) in all sorts of places. The Taguchi and Arataniurano exhibitions will only be on for another week, through October 7th.
Art-filled and fun-filled day indeed, my only wish it could be spread over the whole weekend to keep the aesthetic fatigue at bay.

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