ART FAIR TOKYO, a jewel box of Tokyo-Pop and delicate Japanese arts

ART FAIR TOKYO, one of the most prestigious art show in Asia, was successfully held from March 10 to 12, welcoming 56,000 visitors. The Japanese government’s immigration restrictions have been greatly eased, attracting fans of pop and delicate Japanese contemporary art from Asia, Europe, and the United States, and the artworks sold well.

At Kaikai Kiki Gallery booth, Mr.’s new installation had a large presence- a sharp expression of the modern human mind’s image of antisocial while connecting with others, with an analog hand-painted finish of a cluttered landscape. Despite their glamorous appearance, these girls are vulnerable, and this work is filled with the respect for those girls who survive the difficulties of everyday life.

The gallery is led by Takashi Murakami, and Mr. is his long-standing sworn friend. Mr. has developed a career as an artist by focusing on anime and video game-esque renditions of everyday Japanese girls. He is recognized both in Japan and abroad as an artist who has brought “otaku” culture which had been confined to the world of anime, into the world of contemporary art as paintings. He developed a series of paintings on the theme of war, and he had solo exhibitions at Perrotin (Paris) and Lehman Maupin Gallery (New York).

Kageyoshi Koyanagi‘s Cat looking for prey -sardine- 53.0 x 33.3 cm – the precision that is the greatest characteristic of Japanese artists was well expressed and was popular with the audience.

As a boy, Koyanagi was influenced by special effects books with monsters, N-gauge diorama example books, and manga. He put himself into the world of miniatures and let his imagination run wild. His wife and two children often appear in his works, and the little people move around on the motifs to create a single scene. The activity of the little people is easy to understand and interesting: an encounter between a warlord on a sardine and a cat. The artist uses acrylic gouache to create layers of fine lines and precision, and the colors are highly saturated.

Ayane Mikagi is a nihonga (Japanese traditional painting) artist. She is a descendant of the family that controls the key that opens Ise Grand Shrine, the most prestigious and famous shrine in Japan.

midsummer’s night(2023)80.3 x 116.7 cm using Japanese rock paints (iwa-enogu), unlike oil paints, iwa-enogu is derived from nature and has large particles that reflect diffusely and sparkle subtly when exposed to light. While Japanese painting is best known for its sumi-e ink paintings of picture scrolls, Mikagi aims for a contemporary style of expression.

Already placed in three public collections in Japan, Mikagi’s paintings are at once evocative, luscious and emphatic, and are most often idyllic landscapes of nature, controlled and painted carefully in layered emotion. Yet it is her floral paintings that have garnered attention for blurring the lines between the purely figurative and the abstract, and lead to kaleidoscopes of color that pop, impress and melt into techni-colored fantasia.

CHRIS Namaizawa, born in San Francisco and raised in Tokyo. His work SIMBA (#S1-1043) 2023 acrylic on canvas 116.7 x 82.6 cm is based on the motif of trading cards, he is active both in Japan and abroad, including the Korean Art Fair “KIAF” and Miami Art Fair “Untitled”. His works are owned by numerous collectors including Justin Bieber. He has also collaborated with many fashion brands such as GUESS.

The work is a fictional baseball team player, carefully hand-painted. CHRIS, who is a collector of a vast number of magazines and hobbies, has used his collection as a tool for expression in his artistic activities. CHRIS reconsiders the act of collecting, which has a significant meaning in his activities, and reveals the creativity hidden in it.

The artwork by fusengirl™, April29th – May10th, 2022, mixed media on sticky note, each 7.5 x 7.5 cm, Frame size: 45 x 54.5 x 3.6 cm- It is interesting to draw on sticky notes, which are usually thrown away, and since works are frequently published, one can expect to see what the next work will be like.

The artist with a strong affinity for social networking. She started posting one portrait drawn on a sticky note (fusen in Japanese) each day. As of June 23, 2022, she had given us 675 portraits. The artist marks each work with its creation date and her signature. In one of her posts, she added the following comment regarding her work: “On that day, in that place, that person existed.” The artist infuses each and everyone of the portraits that she draws on sticky notes with undeniable life.

The accomplished drawing techniques and skills in expressing space, which the artist likely cultivated through Japanese traditional painting, remind one of the blank areas and mental spaces featured in Japanese paintings. They also bring to mind the bold screen compositions and vivid colors of Ito Jakuchu, who was active in the Edo period.

She renders each figure with pop flair through various techniques using pencil, fountain pen, spray, acrylic paint, line markers, and even correction fluid.  As social networking sweeps the modern world, her creations are an inexhaustible source of novel forms and impressions, both in the original artwork and in the digitally transformed virtual reality world of NFTs. She recently presented edition works as fusengirl™ alt. digital and original paintings as fusengirl™ alt. naked.

A.A. Muarakami is a London/Tokyo based artist duo. Cell3 (2020) Foamed aluminium, stainless steel plinth 58.7 x 48.8 x 54.9 cm ; 23 x 19 1/8 x 21 1/2 in., plinth, Dia 50 x H100 cm ; dia 19 5/8 x 39 1/4 in. –It expresses admiration for nature’s form, some kind of rugged mineral.

The artists’work is included in the permanent collections of MoMA and the Center Pompidou. A superb fusion of Western dynamism and Japanese wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese expression referring to an aesthetic concept of perceiving beauty in imperfection. In the same way ancient civilizations made structures to chart the passage of the sun or early cave paintings to depict the natural world, A.A. Murakamipursues an innate human desire to use art to connect with and revere the natural systems on which our existence depends.

Cotoh Tsumi and GASHO2.0 exhibited physical art produced by GASHO2.0 and Cotoh’s NFT as a set- SHiELD:AGE #1425. The digital work is on the right and the print is on the left. Cotoh has a proven track record as an NFTs artist, and GASHO2.0, a project launched by NFTs collector, using traditional Japanese printing methods, they turn digitally existing NFTs into physical artwork. They expand awareness of NFTs to fans of contemporary art, promote digital assets, and encourage the purchase of works.

GASHO2.0 has an exclusive partnership with a printing company with a long history in Japan. To remove the longtime of acquiring NFTs, such as wallet and exchange account setup, for the majority of participants who are fans of contemporary art, GASHO2.0 have prepared a support system and a purchase route that allows them to purchase physical works of art and support them later with NFTs, just like a traditional art fair.

Cotoh, based on an awareness that there is no boundary between illustrations (especially digital works) and contemporary artworks in the first place, Cotoh has succeeded in producing contemporary artworks with his unique interpretation of mass-consumed illustrations and their printing techniques.  By deliberately limiting artwork creation to using techniques based on mass consumption, Cotoh seeks to bring a breath of fresh air to the Japanese context in which these artworks have been generally evaluated as commercial products.

In Japan, where people are densely packed in a small country, it is difficult to display large works of art at home. On the other hand, a new group of high income buyers has emerged who have overcome the hardships of the Corona disaster and the economic crisis by collecting their favorite artworks. The show is also a jewel box for Asian and Western fans who love the beauty that comes from its intimacy and simplicity.

Posted in Art

Saori is an art journalist based in New York and Tokyo, specializing in interviews with art fairs on the east coast of the USA, street Culture in Tokyo, US and Japanese galleries, and artists. Saori has been a staff writer for Fashion at the independent paper The Asahi Shimbun, The NY Times of Japan, for 23 years, covering fashion shows in Paris, Milan, London, and New York. Saori pioneered a bilingual magazine (in English and Japanese), a first in Japan. Currently, she is writing on cross-cultural themes



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