This year (as every year) I attended the annual Godai Art University Graduation show at the National Art Center in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. It was full of good stuff as usual and a real treat: nowhere can you get so much contemporary Japanese art as in this exhibition, for such little cost (it is free). I particularly enjoyed one sculpture, “Inisible” by Hifumi Sugata of Joshibi, a sinister looking metal sculpture. This year’s exhibition is over but there is a new on in February – early March next year! Be sure to see it!
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!
This sculpture by young Kumi Sato (佐藤久美) from Joshibi Art University (女子美術大学) was exhibited at the National Art Center in March this year. It’s obviously a herbivore animal of some kind and it’s titled Soushokukei, which is probably a play on words with the term Soushoku Danshi, a term that has become part of everyday vocabulary among young people here in Japan. I wish I could explain it to you but Wikipedia does it better. Still, it’s a wonderfully crafted sculpture. And as usual, even with my considerable google-fu I fail to find anything about this artist online.
Here’s a pair of very cute statues of komainu, that you might remember from one of my posts earlier this week, by young artist Yukari Kondo (近藤ゆかり) at Japan Women’s Art University, Joshibi. The title of her work is Aun (阿吽) which is the Japanese way of writing the classical mystic syllable “om” famous from eastern mysticism everywhere! The lion on the right, with the open mouth is said to be forming the “a” of the aun, and the left lion’s closed mouth forms the word “un”. The “a” is the first letter in ancient sanskrit script and “un” is the last, therefore encompassing the whole of existance. In western terms, the phrase “alpha and omega” is familiar to most people (and also being the first and last letters in classical Greek). So there you go, religion, mysticism and art all in one post. I really hope a temple sees her work and exhibit it!