Here’s one of my favorite graduation works at the National Art Center last week, from the hands of Marie Maruyama (丸山麻莉枝) of the Japan Women’s Art University (日本女子美術大学), a series of what looks like cyborg animals but simple titled “No.4″. When I was young I was an avid reader of the cyberpunk sub-genre of Science Fiction, and I would have adored these back then! A ferret, a rabbit, a dog and mouse in a series of mix media sculptures. Well done Ms. Maruyama!
It is the end of February again and the single most interesting Japanese art event is taking place – the graduation exhibition of the top 5 art universities in Tokyo. Like every year there is a huge range of works in all manners of genre, and just like every year there are a few young artists that really stand out. The first work that caught my eye as I entered was Parabola by Kouta Omoto (大本幸大) of Musashino Art University (武蔵野美術大学). A huge oil painting of something we see every day here in Tokyo, the tangled masses of electric wiring over our heads, although usually not as sinister as this.
Entrance is free and the show is taking place a couple of days into March, at the National Art Center in Roppongi. If you are in any way into art then this is a must see.
This years Japan Media Arts Festival takes place between the 16th and the 24th of February, centered on the National Art Center in Tokyo’s Roppongi district it’s is a must see for anyone interested in audio visual art, multimedia, high technology, manga and animation. I wish I could have gone to all the screenings of the many movies that were given awards this year, some of them looks very promising. If you have time, I really recommend this art show, free entrance and loads of fun and cutting edge technology merged with a typically playful Japanese sense of art! The English information site is here, unfortunately not as detailed as you’d wish, but with a bit of Google-fu and cut and paste you should be able to find more of anything you are particularly interested in! Most of the art presented is Japanese but there is a fair bit of shows from other countries as well, all excellent. This year’s festival is one of the best I have seen so far.
Tokyo is filled with great little galleries scattered all across the metropolis. One gallery that is a little bit different from the others, not only in the art it puts on, but also the building itself, is Scai the Bathhouse. Housed in a Meiji era classic styled former public bathhouse with a gorgeous exterior and a very simple remade interior. Well worth a visit if you have the time and not afraid to take a little walk from the bigger more famous art museums in Ueno.