In January I visited the graduation show at the Tokyo University of the Arts. For most visitors, the first work of art they encountered was the “OYAJYO-JIN” A-Un sculptures by Kanagawa sculptress Momoha Harada (原田桃葉). The words A-Un (阿吽) comes from the Indian religions and has also been adapted by shintoism and buddhism here in Japan. A is the first and un is the last character in the sanskrit alphabet and they represent the beginning and the end of the of all things, very similar to αω (Alpha and Omega) in christianity or the emet in judaism. In front of most temples and shrines in Japan you will find two statues, sometimes lions, sometimes foxes, sometimes demon or even tengu, one with their mouth open (阿) and one with the mouth closed (吽).
The statues of Ms. Harade guarded the entrance to the university and were quite popular with visitors. The portly human figures in a their metal grey hue looked great next to the black wood of the gate.
I saw this mixed media artwork at the National Art Center’s art university graduation ceremony a couple of weeks ago. The artist, Atsushi Adachi of Zokei University (足立篤史), has created a miniature diorama dream world, complete with train tracks, tunnels, light houses, zeppelins and hangars for airplanes. I love these kind of miniature worlds, like the art of Ichiyo Haga (here and here), the Housing Estate N by Area N, the Papercraft castle, even the diorama hat by O.Moro Design! Another great artist this reminds me of is Takanori Aiba’s miniature cities. Yes, I have a very soft spot for dioramas and miniatures!
If you want to see more of Mr. Adachi’s work you have plenty of chances this spring and summer as he is pretty much exhibiting all through the year. The closest one is at the Tabloid Gallery in Tokyo’s Hinode, March 20th to March 23rd, and then at the Ouchi Gallery in New York’s Brooklyn, first in the end of April early May and then again in June.
It is that time of the year again, the joint graduation exhibition of five largest art universities in Tokyo: Joshibi, Zokei, Gakugei, Musabi and Tamabi (to use their popular nicknames). The sculpture section, which is always my favorite was a little weak this year but a few really good works of art made up for it all. My favorite from this year might be the Sorauma, a horse sculpture in metal and plastic expertly constructed by Kuroudo Tsuji (辻蔵人) from the Musashino Art University (武蔵野美術大学), which looked fantastic against the blue skies over the National Art Center in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. Don’t miss Mr Tsuji’s fantastic undergraduate graduation exhibit two years earlier, the scrap metal fossil that I blogged about here.
If you are in Tokyo, today is your last chance to see this massive exhibition of almost a thousand young artists displaying their best. The entrance is free and nobody minds if you take photos. This is probably the foremost art event in Tokyo!
One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend here in Tokyo is to visit some of the hundreds (thousands really) of art galleries in the city, as well as the many graduation exhibitions of the major art universities. Recently I have run into the same artist twice, Shunsuke Taira (平俊介). First at the graduation exhibition at the Tokyo University of the Arts, and yesterday at the Gallery MoMo Projects in Roppongi. Some of the paintings are industrial reinterpretations of buildings in and around Asakusa. Can you spot which ones? If I was an art collector I would snap all of his work up right now.
The Gallery Moma will have the exhibition until March 8th.