Art Fair Tokyo vs. KOH-JUTSU

Art Fair Tokyo, Contemporary Art section
The 2010 Art Fair Tokyo was inaugurated last Thursday at the Tokyo International Forum. Most of the exhibitors were located in one of the large halls, with some of the younger galleries and media stalls situated in two separate sections, in the upstairs lobby. The fair covered a whole range of media (modern and contemporary two and three-dimensional works, video, Chinese and Japanese pottery, Nihonga artifacts, ukiyo-e prints, etc.) and time periods (from 12th century onwards). While the bulk of the participants came from Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama and Kyoto, there was also a sprinkling of galleries from places like Canada, China, Germany, Korea, Spain, even Russia. The majority of the booths were fairly conventional, but the upstairs lobby “Projects” section had some very interesting displays: Yokohama’s Gallery Simon arranged a dramatically lit space to showcase the works of Kouji Ohno (Storage Element, 2010), Kyoto’s Super Window Project TM & Gallery had Morgan Tschiember’s installation Solid Geometry (2009). The temporal and geographic diversity of the art fair played both ways: while it was fascinating to see the older paintings and artifacts, the sensory overload made it difficult to appreciate many of the contemporary works.

KOH-JUTSU installation view. Works by Satoshi Uchiumi, Akiko & Masako Takada and Yoshihiko Satoh
The Art Fair Tokyo had closed yesterday, but the other seasonal show, a much smaller one, is still on across town, at Omotesando’s Spiral. The KOH-JUTSU exhibition organizer Röntgenwerke AG did not take part in the Art Fair Tokyo. Instead, together with Gallery Koyanagi and Gallery Kogure it put together a selection of works by their artists in the generously-sized first floor gallery of the Spiral Hall. The exhibition is curated by Tsutomu Ikeuchi. Röntgenwerke gallery’s choice not to exhibit at this year’s Art Fair Tokyo, instead organizing a concurrent show in a venue other than their flagship space in Bakurocho seems like a bit of a rebellion against the necessary uniformity of the large fair. Of the other two participants in the Spiral show Gallery Koyanagi did take part in the Art Fair but had a super-minimal and, perhaps because of that, the most stunning display. I wonder if the single flower sculpture by Yoshihiro Suda was also a way of resisting the store-front model of the Fair.
Yoshihiro Suda at Gallery Koyanagi booth, Tokyo Art Fair
The Koh-Jutsu show will run though this Wednesday, April 7th, admission is free.

One Comment

  1. art-refugee says:

    While it was fascinating to see the older paintings and artefacts

    Yes, it is fascinating to see the older artworks juxtaposed the recent output of modern artists and what really strikes one is when forensically scrutinizing these artworks on show in art fairs from many centuries ago is that they seem to contain imbued within them a transient modernity, that appears to outstrip the sensations resonating from the recently made objects in the now.

    Your observational comment above should be considered salient, even though at the time you appear to have suffered from sensory overload. Nonetheless, you still gazed at arts histories and nothing else of a contemporary nature within the fair is feted with such glowing words, this act seems to raise more questions than it answers about the current nature of contemporary artistic praxis or lack of it,

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