Posts in Art
Ritsue Mishima Fall 2019

Ritsue Mishima Fall 2019

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Japan Suite Ritsue Mishima

Fall art season kicked off in New York city and there are quite a lot of Japanese artists took lead-off. We’d like to introduce a few of them next couple weeks!

First, we’d like to report Lumina, Ritsue Mishima’s first solo show in New York. Mishima was born in Kyoto in 1962, and moved to Venice, Italy in 1989, in search of the perfect vase for the flower installation. She started to create them for herself, and after all, the vases became bigger and heavier, object of art itself. She splits her time between the two cities since then. Her works are produced by thousand-year-old glassmaking techniques, collaboration with master craftsmen in Murano. But her aesthetics and point of view are clearly contemporary and her Japanese sensibilities translate colorful classical Murano glasses into bold colorless glass objects.

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Mishima’s creation is always spontaneous. She does not plan or design ahead of time, and communicates her vision in clay model with the glass blowing team. The collaboration results in intuitive, abstract, and energetic forms.

She examines how the light plays with her creation, and her installation are carefully designed for the interaction of the objects and the space.

“I’ve learned the unpredictability about glass making from the craftsman, and I taught them to dare to take the creation to the extreme.”

LUHRING AUGUSTINE 531 WEST 24TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10011

(artwork photos: courtesy of luhring augustine)



The Art of the In-Between
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New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) has a stunning exhibition of famed fashion designer Rei Kawakubo’s work. Of course, she is synonymous with Commes des Garcons, and The Met has put together a really intriguing exhibition that looks at opposites in her work. It blurs the lines of what we think opposite means and looks at what’s in between. It is the essence of what she has done since founding Commes de Garcons in 1969 -- embracing two Japanese principles:  mu (emptiness) and its relation to ma (space). The concept of opposites blurring invokes the space in between.

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As always,we were really impressed by Kawakubo’s body of work as well as the great manner in which the exhibit was curated and designed. We’ve been to other shows in the Costume Institute at The Met that were stunning, but they were typically staged in dramatic setting with more direct lighting, to great effect. But Kawakubo’s work was portrayed entirely different. The staging was white with a matrix of overhead lighting from the ceiling and no spot-lighting on the displays. It emphasized the bold shapes of Kawakubo’s work, reflecting the colors and theme of the exhibit as well as her design ethos..

There are several concepts of “in-betweenness” portrayed in the exhibition and we could go into great detail about each, but I think the visuals tell the story.

Altering Graffiti — A New Form of Signature
Enrico Isamu Oyama's newest work ©Japan Suite

Enrico Isamu Oyama's newest work ©Japan Suite

Oyama organic creation on the exhibition opening night ©Japan Suite

Gallery located next to Frank Gehry designed IAC building in Chelsea ©Japan Suite

Gallery located next to Frank Gehry designed IAC building in Chelsea ©Japan Suite

New York City and graffiti are synonymous, if not so much now, certainly in the latter part of the previous century. So, the back courtyard at Jane Lombard Gallery in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood was an appropriate setting for Japanese-Italian artist Enrico Isamu Oyama to showcase his talents live. We liked watching him work organically in the outdoor setting framed on three sides by brick walls and on the fourth by the iconic Frank Gehry IAC building.

Oyama was born in Tokyo to an Italian father and Japanese mother. The family took trips every summer to northern Italy, which provided Oyama with two key inspirations. The dichotomy of the fast pace of Tokyo life and the relaxed vibe of rural northern Italy gave him multiple perspectives of the world. The other defining moment for him was his discovery and immersion into “graffiti culture”, which was especially active in Italy at the dawn of the new millennium.

Oyama explains how that inspiration influences his art. “In graffiti culture, a name, composed of stylized letters, represents writer’s alter ego”, he says. “I remove letter shapes, extract only the flowing line and repeat it to maximize its dynamism. By doing so, I create an abstract motif. Instead of having a new name for myself, I gave a name to the motif: Quick Turn Structure (QTS).

“QTS has its own life. Its physical manifestations are channelled into unique art pieces from one specific moment in time. The pieces are called FFIGURATI, a term referring to the word “graffiti” and the Italian expression “figùrati” — literally translated as “figure it out yourself”.”

Oyama, who now calls New York City home, has collaborated with such iconic Japanese brands as  COMME des GARÇONS and Shu Uemura. And speaking of COMME des GARÇONS, the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in NYC has just opened a comprehensive retrospective of Rei Kawakubo’s avant garde designs. We will be checking it out in a few days and will have much to show and say on here very soon.

Bigger is Definitely Better for Iconic NYC Photography Show
Nightcall by Sascha Weidner

Nightcall by Sascha Weidner

One of our favorite things always in New York is to visit art shows, and we met the new spring season this year with a very cool photography show held by AIPAD, the Association of International Photography Art Dealers.

The show this year was big and impressive. The location had moved from Park Avenue Armory to Pier 94, which made room for 115 galleries from around the world as well as 30 book sellers/publishers.

With the number of countries participating came a great variety of vintage to contemporary, classic to experimental with a vast array in terms of medium and techniques. Not surprising given the state of our current world, a great variety of the art displayed political messages. Some pieces, we don’t necessarily call photography, but related or derived. We were impressed by the potential of photography as art more than any of the shows we visited recently.

And of course, we were drawn to talented Japanese artists works. Here are a few that caught our eyes!

Particularly we had a great conversation with Ibasho from Antwerp, Belgium, which literally means “a place where you can be yourself.” They are collectors of Japanese prints turned dealers. We felt their love for Japanese photographers sensibilities and unique explorations.

One of the artists they presented was Motohiro Takeda, who is fascinated by camera obscura and the idea of being inside the camera. One of his series titled “Another Sun” is a dramatic, large scale print of an inverted sun, which started as a result of the fortuitous accidental representation of the sun on a piece of photographic paper on the wall of his apartment.

Here are some of the other artists with connections to Japan that we were also quite impressed by.

Motohiro Takeda

Motohiro Takeda

AkiraSato
Albarrán Cabrera

Albarrán Cabrera

Albarrán Cabrera

Albarrán Cabrera

AlecSoth_Sari

AlecSoth_Sari

Michiko Yamawaki

Michiko Yamawaki

MaoIshikawa

MaoIshikawa

Issei Suda

Issei Suda

By the way, this was one of the most instagrammed booth at the show.

©Japan Suite
Imagining the Fantastical
©Oscar Oiwa

©Oscar Oiwa

Recently we had the great fortune to see a presentation and talk with Japanese-Brazilian artist Oscar Oiwa who was discussing his new book, The Creation of the World, in a great NYC setting with an herb-filled rooftop garden.

 

Oscar’s art is varied and stunning. Most recently he created a fantastical world called Oiwa Island 2 inside a large, inflatable dome at the Setouchi Art Triennial in Japan, which is held every three years on a dozen islands in the Seto Inland Sea (Setonaikai), the sea which separates Honshu and Shikoku.

Much of Oiwa’s work could be said to fall somewhere in the pantheon of magical realism with hints of a darker edge. This probably makes sense as he was born in Brazil to Japanese immigrant parents. He moved to Tokyo after graduating from University in Sao Paolo and then to New York City in 2002 where he currently resides. He has said he chose to embrace new countries in order to expand his work (and life) as an artist.

The Creation of the World compiles Oscar’s work from the last decade or so and is an amazing journey to experience, full of poignant social commentary. In his opening, he talks about the creation of the world (or a world) in artistic terms. The allegory could go either way in my opinion — the creation of art reflecting the evolution of the human spirit. He talks about a blank canvas, an empty world — the creation of a first dot. The dot started everything. Subsequent dots created a line, a form and things grew from there. It’s an apt allusion and in Oscar’s amazingly talented hands, the evolution is mesmerizing.

We strongly encourage you to explore Oscar’s works and to see them in person if you have the chance. His works are currently displaying at 21st Century of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa city, Ishikawa.

During the 2016 Setouchi Triennale, two of Oscar’s works will be on view at Ogijima and Shodoshima. Both works are large-scale installations that allow the audience to walk into the art. ©Oscar Oiwa

During the 2016 Setouchi Triennale, two of Oscar’s works will be on view at Ogijima and Shodoshima. Both works are large-scale installations that allow the audience to walk into the art. ©Oscar Oiwa

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Fall preview from Japan Suite
Motion plate by Kihachi

Motion plate by Kihachi

We hope you had a wonderful summer. 

At Japan Suite, we are busy preparing for Fall products. And we would like you to preview a few of them today!

We are planning to introduce some unique glass jewelry pieces by Harrys as well as traditional lacquerware from Kihachi in Ishikawa. And from Kyoto, we are going to showcase bamboo dinnerware by Takano Chikko.

We are excited about these artists and will let you know as soon they are ready on our site.

Bonbon necklace (silver) by Harrys

Bonbon necklace (silver) by Harrys

The Simple Truth
Notice Forest by Yuken Teruya ©Japan Suite

Notice Forest by Yuken Teruya ©Japan Suite

We just visited Yuken Teruya’s new show, The Simple Truth, at Josee Bienvenu gallery in NYC. Teruya is a New York based artist from Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan. His works utilizes ordinary objects to reveal underlying problems of our society.  

One of his most recognized pieces is a series of paper cut-out trees that seem to be growing inside paper bags. These trees may appear fragile, but can also look as if they are supporting the bag. This symbolizes the full circle of a tree that became paper, and then a commercial bag, and then the bag symbolically returns to the original tree.

Here is the artist’s statement. "Uncovering small metamorphosis in familiar objects is an exercise which enables one to turn routine into moments of significance, making us more aware of the indefinite alterations in our surroundings."

Another exhibit showed a series of New York Times newspapers depicting tragedy or conflict around the world on their front pages. However, “growing” or “sprouting” out of the assorted troubling news were trees and flowers that had been laboriously cut from the photos on the front page and folded to stand up as if growing in a field or forest. These papers, which came from trees, were used to depict and report chaotic world events--but in the hands of Teruya, they became an intriguing garden of life emerging from tales of death and destruction.

There is also a series of newspapers from his hometown in Okinawa reporting on a massive local protest against the U.S. Air Force there --  with the theme “It’s about me, It’s about you. There is a truth bigger than geopolitics.”  Stencil cut into each paper is a phrase, written in Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, Georgian, English and Basque. Teruya has used Okinawan traditional patterns called Bingata Kimono to express his messages in the past. While it is talking about a long history of occupation and friction with Japan and USA, the art piece is calm and poetic.

In addition, his other work, Forest Inc, is also on view now at 601 ArtSpace here in New York until April 25.

Minding My Own Business by Yuken Teruya ©Japan Suite

Minding My Own Business by Yuken Teruya ©Japan Suite

©Japan Suite

©Japan Suite

It's about me, it's about you. ©Japan Suite

It's about me, it's about you. ©Japan Suite

©Japan Suite

©Japan Suite

Glaze and Crackles
Beautiful turquoise glaze with Kannyu(crackles).

Beautiful turquoise glaze with Kannyu(crackles).

30 years old Matcha bowl with Kannyu.

30 years old Matcha bowl with Kannyu.

100 years old Vietnamese bowl I acquired during a trip to Vietnam.

100 years old Vietnamese bowl I acquired during a trip to Vietnam.

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