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CUT THE RIBBON, YAYOI KUSAMA

Posted on January 28, 2013 by admin

From rural Japan to technological NYC. She can paint, creates collage, makes sculpures, performances, environmental installations, book illustrations. She is the queen of dots, pois, or better she has cut the ribbon as first Japanese female psychedelic performer. Even though forgotten after leaving the early NYC’s pop scene in the 70’s, Yayoi Kusama is now widely acknowledged. Maybe one of Japan’s most important living artist and avant garde voice.Yayoi Kusama started creating art at an early age and became interested in the European and American avant garde.It was 1957 when she moved to the US, settling in NYC where she produced a series of paintings influenced by the abstract expressionist movement. Kusama became a fixture of the New York avant-garde, having her works exhibited with the likes of Andy Warhol and embracing the rise of the early hippie movement of the late 60s.She, for instance, organised a series of Body Festivals in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots. In 1973, Kusama moved back to her native Japan, where she found the art scene far more conservative than New York. There she became an art dealer and continued to produce artworks in a variety of mediums, as well as launching a literary career by publishing several novels, a poetry collection and an autobiography. I personally admire and adore her Alice in Wonderland’s illustrations. Kusama’s conceptual art shows feminism, minimalism, surrealism and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content.Her obsessiveness in repeating dot patterns seem to assert the desire to escape and the viewer of her obsessive vision of endless dots gets inprisoned in a maniac net, where the only thing to do is to be submerged. Nowadays Yayoi Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.

IN MONOCHROME WITH BALTHUS – HISAJ HARA

Posted on January 15, 2013 by Isabella Cecconi

“We do not know how to see reality” Albert Camus

Balthus’s paintings have always appeared naive and slightly sinister to me. Canvas where the figurative style emphasized on a dark or fairytaled or mysterious atmosphere. Balthus works are certainly timeless, but according to many, strange. A reverie that seems to have touched Japanese photographer Hisaji Hara. His series of images meticulously recreate Balthus’ most famous works. Between 2006 and 2011, a real young girl, have been posing for the photographer, recreating the suggestive originals. Shooting in black and white, Hara’s nod to Balthus, recreated the surreal oddness, with a touch of formal Japanese film. The setting for the interiors has been a Japanese medical clinic. These tableaux hark  between a suspended period between childhood and adulthood and Hara’s technique is the old-fashioned, labour-intensive method that includes multiple exposures and the use of a smoke machine to create the opaque quality. The blur and the opaqueness used thus creates the otherworldly atmosphere. Hara’s monochrome portraits look strangely familiar to me and become an interesting discovery and a gorgeous composition and example of tableaux vivant.

http://hisajihara.com/

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GUTAI

Posted on January 10, 2013 by admin

In February 2013, the Guggenheim Museum will open the first U.S. museum retrospective exhibition ever devoted to Gutai, the most influential artists collective and artistic movement in postwar Japan and among the most important international avant-garde movements of the 1950s and ‘60s. Gutai was an association of artists founded by Jiro Yoshihara in Japan in 1954. The ’50s and ’60s, the period during which Gutai emerged, were notable for Japan’s miraculous recovery, which was achieved through soaring economic growth in the wake of the country’s defeat in World War II. Gutai’s creations are the result of an abundance of the challenging spirit and creative energy and the function of the group as a symbol of that era. Gutai was extraordinary for its range of bold and innovative creativity and aesthetic which explored in a unique way materials, processes and performativity. The group had a radical way of experimentation across a range of media and styles, and demonstrated how individual artists could push the limits of art. The range will include paintings, conceptual art, experimental performances and films. The Guggenheim show will contain 120 objects by 25 artists on loan from major museum and private collections in Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

 http://www.guggenheim.org/

15 Feb – 8 May, 2013 Guggenheim Museum, NYC

SHIZUKA YOKOMIZO, DEAR STRANGER…

Posted on November 16, 2012 by Isabella Cecconi

Dear Stranger, I am an artist working on a photographic project which involves people I do not know…I would like to take a photograph of you standing in your front room from the street in the evening. A camera will be set outside the window on the street. If you do not mind being photographed, please stand in the room and look into the camera through the window for 10 minutes on __-__-__ (date and time)…I will take your picture and then leave…we will remain strangers to each other…If you do not want to get involved, please simply draw your curtains to show your refusal…I really hope to see you from the window.

The amazing Shizuka Yokomizo’s photo project, came from running around London with huge telephoto lens, trying to glimpse unsuspecting people through the windows of their flats. Being absurd and frustrating by the one-sidedness of the activity, aside from the ethics aspect, she soon realized it was important for her to have eye contact while photographing. She needed the people to look back and recognize her equally as a stranger. So she decided to use the format of a simple anonymous letter, which contained the possibility of agreement.The effect was that when Yokomizo sent her subjects the letters, they started agreeing and stand in the front window of their home at a specified date and time.She started being welcomed. She would then arrive, set up her tripod and camera, exposed her film, and then leave. Each photograph shows someone looking out of a window. She selected the addresses and then wrote the note. Posers were not victims, they would allow Shizuka to see their homes.  She needed their eye contact and them to  recognize their existance. She existed as a stranger, they existed as strangers, but they both created a strange meeting point rather than just showing people’s private lives. Yokomizo made sure that when the photos were taken, the light would be too dark outside to see her, she would allow her subjects to see their own reflections in the window.

Shizuka Yokomizo, Japanese by birth, photographer by choice, has been living in London for more than 15 years. Aren’t you too waiting for the note? I definitely am!

www.shizukayokomizo.com

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CLOPEN!

Posted on September 4, 2012 by admin

Clopen is the new shelf conceived by the Japanese studio Torafu Architects. Even if at first it looks like a standard floating shelf, Clopen hides a slim secret drawer that can be opened with magnets comprising ash veneer over aluminium. The drawer mechanism is a hiding place that can be opened using magnetic keys. When pulled, the secret drawer appears and the shelf doubles. The design allows the storage of compact and precious belongings becoming safe for valuables. Clopen has been through the design phase and is now entering into production. No details have yet been released concerning availability or pricing but I’m so willing of having it!

http://torafu.com/

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TOMOKI MOMOZONO

Posted on July 17, 2012 by Isabella Cecconi

Tomoki Momozono is an awesome photographer. I mesmerized his Sumo pictures with a sort of Stendhal’s syndrome, feeling transported into the audience of his images. I felt like experiencing the fight of the scene. Momozono’s powerful shots portray the competitive contact sport of Rikishi (sumo wrestlers) who attempt to force each other out of the circular ring. Picture tones are perfect, yellowish and dark, delivering the anxious force of the fight, of surrenders, of physical power. Sumo belongs to Japan’s ancient traditions and it’s highly regimented with rules. Momozono majored in Tokyo’s Sophia University and got into the world of photography in 2001. Starting as a sport shooter he later gained knowledge in lighting. He currently is based in London. Discovering his photography is a journey into a brand new world. Enjoy the fight and.. いは始めましょう!

http://www.momozonophotography.com/

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