Exploring contemporary art at Art Week Tokyo

Tokyo, one of the most significant art cities in the world, is an origami of simplicity that managed to define new geometric laws for interactive art with a rich and intriguing history. Throughout the year, the city hosts some of the most spectacular art festivals and events in the world. Art Week Tokyo, Asia’s oldest fair, is an annual event that features a wide range of art exhibitions, from antiques to cutting-edge contemporary art. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and Japan’s borders finally opening to travelers, Tokyo has seen an explosion of cultural activities. Every year on November 3, Japan celebrates Culture Day, a national holiday established in 1948 to promote the region’s art and cultural scene. The expanded edition of Art Week Tokyo begins on Culture Day itself and is a city project organized in collaboration with Art Basel, combining 51 of Tokyo’s major art galleries and institutions.

Reportedly – The Arch, 2014/2022, Lee Clothes Image: Noriko Yamamoto; Courtesy of Li Wufan

Atsuko Ninagawa, the director of Art Week Tokyo, said in an official announcement: “Conceived as an alternative to the existing international art fair and biennale models, Art Week Tokyo is a city-wide initiative that brings visitors not just to one type of venue, but to a set of objects where contemporary art develops. Celebrating the diversity and vibrancy of the local Japanese art scene, Art Week Tokyo is also inspired by the great capital of culture, fashion and innovation that is Tokyo. We have created an event that is both networked and decentralized, communal and individual and accessible from anywhere. I believe that through the continued efforts of our participating venues, our stakeholders and, most importantly, the expanding art-viewing public, Art Week Tokyo will continue to grow as a platform to experiment with new forms of exhibition-making and to foster exchange among art professionals from across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.”

Installation view of the exhibition of Tsubaki-kai 8: This New World – Quest, Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo, 2022 |  Tokyo Art Week |  STIRworld

Installation view of the Tsubaki-kai 8 exhibition: This New World – Mission, Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo, 2022 Image: Ken Kato

The exhibition schedule for Art Week Tokyo showcases an exciting mix of instinctive experimentation and deep contemplation that characterizes the best of Japanese modern and contemporary art. One of the key attractions is a large-scale retrospective exhibition of the visual artist and philosopher Mono-ha – Lee Ufan, and the renegade multimedia artist and writer – Shinro Ohtake. Showcasing a combination of new media techniques is Taro Nasu Gallery’s exhibition of works by media art pioneer Ryoji Ikeda. Kana Kawanishi Gallery’s latest exhibition of post-internet photographer Hideo Anze and other galleries and artists including – shows by Takashi Ishida, Yuko Mohri and Yuichiro Tamura, as well as a two-person show by photographer Ryudai Takano and media artist Chikako Yamashiro.

Installation view of the exhibition of Tsubaki-kai 8: This New World – Quest |  Tokyo Art Week |  STIRworld

Installation view of the Tsubaki-kai 8 exhibition: This New World – Quest Image: Courtesy of Art Week Tokyo

The art fair will also feature recent works by photographer Rinko Kawauchi, a survey of emerging artists working with photo-based methods at the Tokyo Museum of Photographic Art, a solo exhibition by contemporary artist Kozo Miyoshi at PGI, and much more. Exhibitions range from veteran Mitsuko Miwa’s debut solo exhibition at SCAI The Bathhouse to mixed media artist Emi Otaguro’s first foray into oil painting at Kayoko Yuki, showcasing the country’s strong and vital legacy of female artists. This edition of Art Week Tokyo features the debut of a new video program, the launch of a new committee to promote emerging architects, AWT Bar, and the return of Arts Initiative Tokyo’s online lecture series.

Gyroscope of the Sun, 1988, Arnaldo POMODORO |  Tokyo Art Week |  STIRworld

Gyroscope of the Sun, 1988, Arnaldo TOMATO Image: Keizo Kioku

Bringing together emerging artists alongside established artists from the Tokyo art scene, the three-day exhibition was a celebration of Tokyo’s contemporary art scene, opening up a new world of artistic mediums and perspectives to visitors from around the world.

Villa Mazzacorati, Bologna, 2015, Hiroshi Sugimoto |  Tokyo Art Week |  STIRworld

Villa Mazzacorati, Bologna, 2015, Hiroshi Sugimoto Image: Hiroshi Sugimoto, courtesy of Koyanagi Gallery

The exhibition runs until November 6, 2022.

Text by Vatsala Sethi (Assistant Editorial Coordinator (Arts))

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