• Shows
  • Oct 02, 2020

What’s Up in Tokyo: October–November 2020

Daily new cases in Tokyo have gradually declined to the double digits but the metropolitan government has urged continued vigilance. Galleries are enforcing precautions such as temperature-monitoring, mandatory mask-wearing, and timed admission to ensure that visitors can safely enjoy art. Here are eight shows to check out if you’re in the city.

Installation view of “gesture, form, technique V,” at Taro Nasu, Tokyo, 2020. Photo by Kei Okano. Courtesy Taro Nasu.

Taro Nasu

Sep 4–Oct 10

Taro Nasu presents the fifth edition of the exhibition series “gesture, form, technique,” which explores the lasting influence of modernist art and design. Staged in collaboration with Tokyo’s Gallery-Sign, which specializes in French furniture design, the exhibition showcases the work of more than ten well-known figures, from the late architect/designers Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, and Le Corbusier to contemporary conceptual artists Mika Tajima and Liam Gillick. Highlights include a swing set created by Prouvé as well as Perriand’s oak console designed for the Hôtel le Doron in Méribel, France.

Installation view of YOSHIAKI KAIHATSU’s Happo-en in TNZ, 2020, styrofoam, fluorescent lights, veneer board, wood, tape, dimensions variable, at “Echoes of Monologues,” Anomaly, Tokyo, 2020. Photo by Kana Tarumi. Courtesy the artist and Anomaly. 


Sep 16–Oct 10

Featuring an intergenerational lineup of artists from Anomaly’s stable, “Echoes of Monologues” asks viewers to reconsider our relationships in a time of pandemic-impelled social distancing. Among the exhibits are Nissan Art Award recipient Ishu Han’s installation about migration and agriculture in Kobe; Yoshiaki Kaihatsu’s tea house of discarded polystyrene packaging, referencing traditional Japanese culture and contemporary consumerism; as well as Elena Knox’s 2020 video The Host (from Actroid Series II), a meditation on identity featuring an AI-robot protagonist.

Installation view of MARIKO MORI’s (left) Radiant Being I, 2019, UV cured pigment, Dibond and aluminum, 172.7 × 172.7 × 7.6 cm; and (right) Divine Stone V, 2019, dichroic coated layered acrylic, Corian base, 120 × 64 × 45 cm, at “Central,” SCAI The Bathhouse, Tokyo, 2020. Photo by Nobutada Omote. Courtesy the artist and SCAI The Bathhouse.

SCAI The Bathhouse

Sep 11–Oct 17

Drawing inspiration from nature, pre-historic cultures, and animist beliefs, artist Mariko Mori creates sculptures, videos, drawings, and installations that explore transcendental experiences of the world. On view at SCAI The Bathhouse, Divine Stone VI (2019– ) is a 1.2-meter-high acrylic sculpture with a dichroic coating that evokes a translucent gem. In an accompanying series of drawings, Radiant Being (2019), pastel-toned spheres glow due to the use of metallic pigments. Mori’s experiments with the visible spectrum engage with notions of divine light as well as the science of perception.

JEAN-MICHEL OTHONIEL, Kiku – Hiwamoegiiro (Siskin sprout yellow), 2020, mirrored glass, stainless steel, 39 × 47 × 49 cm. Copyright the artist and JASPAR, Tokyo 2020. Photo by Claire Dorn. Courtesy the artist and Perrotin,  Paris / Hong Kong / New York / Seoul / Tokyo / Shanghai.


Sep 16–Oct 24

French sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel’s first gallery show in Japan, at Perrotin, is titled “Dream Road.” Taking as its departure point the chrysanthemum flower (kiku) and its significance in Japanese culture, the exhibition unveils a new series of mirrored glass and steel sculptures in addition to three paintings on gold leaf. Sculptures such as Kiku – Hiwamoegiiro (Siskin sprout yellow) (2020) celebrate the flower's delicate form, while the trio of gold-leaf canvases render Othoniel’s beaded sculptural chrysanthemums in black ink.

DAICHI TAKAGI, Thicket, 2019, oil on canvas, 65 × 60 cm. Copyright the artist. Courtesy Kayokoyuki and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo. 

Taka Ishii Gallery

Oct 3–31

Taka Ishii Gallery is hosting a group exhibition of paintings by emerging artists Daichi Takagi, Lucía Vidales, and Hiroka Yamashita. Based in Kanagawa, Takagi produces atmospheric landscapes, such as the charcoal-hued oil painting Thicket (2019). Vidales, born in Mexico City and now living in Monterrey, presents colorful semi-abstract compositions suggesting spectral limbs. Okayama-based Yamashita is interested in the relationship between human figures and their natural environments, as seen in the oil-on-linen Rice Paddy at Night (2020), depicting a leg submerged in the water.

ASUKA ANASTACIA OGAWA, Medicine girl, 2019–20, acrylic on canvas, 182.9 × 243.8 cm. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles / New York / Tokyo.

Blum & Poe

Sep 23–Nov 7

Asuka Anastacia Ogawa’s first solo exhibition with Blum & Poe brings together a selection of the Japanese-Brazilian artist’s paintings of dark-skinned, androgynous figures set against solid, pastel-toned backgrounds. Among the works on view is the acrylic-on-canvas Medicine girl (2019), portraying a child in a pink dress kneeling under colorful bunting.

Installation view of YOICHI KAMIMURA’s Breathe You, 2020, 6.1-channel sound, fluorescent paint, UV light, LED grow light, sand, dimensions variable, at “Michikusa: Walks with the Unknown,” Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito, 2020. Courtesy Art Tower Mito.

Art Tower Mito

Aug 29–Nov 8

Art Tower Mito’s group exhibition “Michikusa: Walks with the Unknown” examines the changing relationship between humanity and ecology. Included are 40 projects including the late Lois Weinberger's outdoor installation Wild Enclosure (2020) and multidisciplinary artist Yoichi Kamimura’s new sound work Breathe You (2020), which utilizes field recordings of drift ice, marine-animal calls, and human whistling to recreate the natural phenomenon of “singing” ice.

TAMOTSU KIDO, Sunlight and Mandarin Orange, 2019, c-print, dimensions variable. Copyright the artist. Courtesy Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. 

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art

Sep 19–Jan 11, 2021

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art’s group exhibition “Time Flows: Reflections by 5 Artists” centers on different means of perceiving and recording environments in constant flux. Through works including Lee Kit’s installation Flowers (2018), composed of a light projection and cardboard painting, and Tokihiro Sato’s long-exposure, black-and-white photographs of landscapes, the exhibition reveals how art can be used to decipher how time acts on their surroundings.

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