Midori Matsui

  • Taro Izumi, Untitled, 2010, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Taro Izumi

    Taro Izumi’s videos and performances combine sheer physical sensation with slapstick gestures that reflect the influence of contemporary cartoons, animation, and computer games. Izumi frequently invents task-based actions that resemble children’s games with simple but absurd rules; by doggedly following such rules in performance, and documenting the process with deliberately fragmented videos that treat images and sounds as pure sensory data, he attains such effects as the spatial and temporal extension of pictorial expression and the evocation of unconscious drives. Izumi’s latest solo show,

  • Teppei Kaneuji

    Teppei Kaneuji gained public recognition with his unusually early retrospective at the Yokohama Museum of Art in Japan in 2009, when he was just thirty-one. Hailed as a representative of a new generation of Japanese artists, Kaneuji uses laborious craftsmanship to dissociate banal products from their habitual contexts. He has been best known for sculptures and collages using everyday products in series such as “White Discharge,” 2002–, quasi-architectural constructions assembling action figures, plastic food models, and other inexpensive small objects, covered with white-painted resin, or “Sea

  • Koki Tanaka

    Koki Tanaka is part of the generation of Japanese artists who emerged in the early 2000s. Responding to the economic recession and limited opportunities of the time, they turned to everyday life for moments of perceptual awakening. Using banal things in a playful way and documenting, by video, the isolated surfaces and movements of objects, Tanaka disrupts conventional relations between objects, treating them as “mere things” released from any utilitarian function or human intent and thereby evading prescribed ways of seeing the actual world. His early video works mainly feature the effects of

  • Jiro Takamatsu

    As a member of the important avant-garde performance group Hi Red Center in the early 1960s, Jiro Takamatsu (1936–1998) became known for humorous interventionist actions. After Hi Red Center disbanded in 1965, Takamatsu continued to work on expanding the field of production and perception—painting shadows, for example, on the white surface of a canvas, tracing a walk in the city with a piece of string, or making sculpture with such everyday materials as bottles, strings, bricks, nets, and logs. Although Takamatsu’s experiments can be seen in parallel with those of Supports/Surfaces and Arte

  • Risaku Suzuki, Kumano, 1997, chromogenic print.

    “Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan”

    Despite the predominance of cosmopolitanism and mass-media images in 1990s Japanese art, certain artists captured the specificity of contemporary Japanese experience. This exhibition features some eighty photographs and videos by thirteen artists who came of age during the '90s and who work in a vernacular vein.

    Despite the predominance of cosmopolitanism and mass-media images in 1990s Japanese art, certain artists captured the specificity of contemporary Japanese experience. This exhibition features some eighty photographs and videos by thirteen artists who came of age during the ‘90s and who work in a vernacular vein. Offering an alternative to the prevailing characterization of today's Japanese art as “neo-Pop,” the presentation will show, for example, how the work of Daido Moriyama and Yasumasa Morimura has been transformed in younger artists’ work,

  • Kishio Suga

    Kishio Suga is a representative artist of Mono-ha, the Japanese avant-garde movement of the late ’60s and the ’70s, which presented sculpture as a unique object or “thing” that alters spectators’ perceptions rather than as an aesthetic object. Using everyday and industrial materials, and constructing objects with a minimum show of technique, Mono-ha shared its formal and conceptual goals with Minimalism and arte povera. Suga, in particular, emphasized the importance of the relation between created objects and the surrounding space, as well as the mutual impingement of things placed in relation

  • Ryoko Aoki

    Ryoko Aoki exemplifies the tendency among younger Japanese artists to invent an idiosyncratic visual vocabulary by transforming everyday objects and exploring the work of perception through simple childlike actions. Aoki’s main medium is drawing. She accumulates fragments of images from sources such as advertisements, children’s encyclopedias, and fabric designs, creating unique pictures in which far-fetched things are connected through the metonymical associations that condense or displace details. Her neutral lines encourage these associative links: Long trajectories trace contours and connect

  • Yukihisa Isobe

    “Landscape—Yukihisa Isobe, Artist-Ecological Planner,” a retrospective curated by Naoko Seki, provided an excellent overview of the career of a genuine avant-gardist whose work has remained largely unknown to the Japanese public. Born in Tokyo in 1935, Isobe began in the mid-’50s as a post-Informel abstract painter who invented a unique method of overlaying wooden board with emblemlike patterns made of cardboard and plaster. A trip to New York in 1965 changed the course of his career, as he was exposed to the holistic vision and innovative flexibility of Buckminster Fuller’s architecture

  • Yasumasa Morimura

    This midcareer survey, curated by Mayumi Otsuka and Eriko Kimura and originally presented at the Kumamoto Museum of Art, showed Yasumasa Morimura’s major works from 1985 through 2007 in a theatrical framework: The museum galleries became something like classrooms, where the audience is instructed in the appreciation of “Western masterpieces” via audio-guide lectures recorded by Morimura himself. The educational setup was ironic, as the “masterpieces” are, of course, Morimura’s own simulations of paintings by artists such as Vermeer, van Gogh, Cézanne, Rembrandt, Goya, Manet, and Frida Kahlo.

  • “Space for Your Future”

    An attempt to map trends in art, fashion, design, and architecture from the past decade, this show offers cross-disciplinary approaches to the construction of future living and “communication” environments—installations that aim to “transform the sensibilities, sensory perceptions, and intellectual curiosity” of those who enter. Featuring thirty-five international participants—including architects SANAA, clothing designer COSMIC WONDER, filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and artists Christian Marclay, Tobias Rehberger, and Pipilotti Rist—Hasegawa’s group exhibition is

  • “A to Z”

    Although frequently grouped with Takashi Murakami as representative of the new “Pop” tendency in contemporary Japanese art, Yoshitomo Nara, unlike Murakami, avoids any ironic distancing from contemporary Japanese culture. Instead, his strength lies in his evocation of childhood. His paintings and sculptures of children and dogs, through their malformation, convey loneliness and anger but also forgiveness, indicating the simultaneously destructive and restorative power of innocence. For that reason, Nara has attracted the general public, who recognize in his work an embodiment of the inner child

  • Chu Enoki

    Documenting his public performances and site-specific sculpture since 1970, through photography, video, and drawings, this first retrospective of the sixty-two-year-old avant-garde artist Chu Enoki conveyed the intensity of an independent artistic commitment sustained by efforts to invent new ways of perception, suggesting Enoki’s significance as an important precursor for artists who emerged in the ’90s.

    Enoki’s first public performance, Naked Happening, 1970, demonstrates an inadvertent affinity with the Situationist International. Enoki walked in the middle of a Ginza street on a Sunday,