Does art of reclining naked bodies tickle your fancy? Then
check out Kan Xuans video where two spiders run all over and explore
EVERY nook and cranny of a naked man and woman. It gives you the creeps
as the little spiders probe all available hiding spaces on a naked human
form. Accompanying the video is the final refrain about 'going home from
an old childrens song playing repeatedly.
Kan Xuans creepy art video is one of 43 artists included in a large exhibition
surveying contemporary Asian art. The exhibition is housed in two venues
in Tokyo, the Japan Foundation and the Opera City Gallery. It is the result
of 9 curators selecting work from seven countries: Thailand, the Philippines,
Korea, Japan, India, Indonesia and China.
The art at the Japan Foundation Forum is loosely grouped under the key
words 'memory, enigma, fantasy and dream. It ranges widely from painting
and sculpture to include multi- media, video and performance installations.
A few highlights from this large display would include Indian artist Baiju
Parthan. He has developed a multi media presentation titled 'A Diary of
the Inner Cyborg. It uses some impressive graphics and text to explore
the nature of contemporary life.
Korean artist Kim Beom is represented with an enigmatic series ' An iron
in the form of a radio, a kettle in the form of an iron, and a Radio in
the form of a kettle. The work, literally is the title. It tests authenticity
and playfully challenges the viewer to unravel these reincarnations of
Alfredo Esquillo, a Philippine artist, paints with considerable technical
ability. His paintings are also a clever and witty re-writing of history.
They are subversive historical portraits of figures from Asian history
and wickedly funny.
The exhibition is a brilliant snap-shot of the vitality of the visual
arts in the region. Works amuse, entertain, mystify and on occasions horrify.
However, there is an intensity and freshness to the art. The display justifies
the art worlds recent recognition of the Asian region as being one of
the most dynamic places in the visual arts.
Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery
With an exhibition title like 'Under Construction
it should not be surprising to find unfinished looking art. However, some
large haphazard works dominate the Opera City Gallery exhibition overpowering
others on display.
Thai artist, Thasnai Sethaserees, work explores cross-cultural traditions.
It sprawls across the middle of a large gallery room. The piece was originally
part of a community-based project in an alternative art space. Like some
other works in the exhibition, it does not rekindle the original atmosphere
when housed in the clinical white walls of the modern art gallery. Sethaserees
work also overshadows those around it, drowning them in his cacophony
of festival leftovers.
Some work made an impact such as S. Teddy Ds, 'Show me the way to the
bridge, which consisted of large iron construction beams, in a bridge
like section, and mounted on bicycle wheels. The video work in the exhibition
was particularly impressive.
Japanese artist, Saki Satoms video, 'Slalom, captures contemporary life.
It is an elegant expression of minimal aesthetics transferred to the digital
arts. While, Wang Gongxins, video installation, 'Red Doors, shows how
video can be used to create new environments, which can express complex
social and cultural issues.
Rika Noguchis photographs again display her technical prowess with the
camera. However, this series, 'About the World below Zero, also shows
a gentle humanness to her photographic work. Ozawa Tsuyoshis photographs
of vegetable 'weapons is a fun project. However, the display, in a complete
plastic 'glasshouse, seems a bit over-elaborate in design for the nature
of the work.
In the modernist setting of the Opera City Gallery, the 'community art
type projects look out of place. They are difficult to decipher through
the mass of chaotic material they present and they interfere with other
art on display.
However, for art enthusiasts with a little time to dig around and sort
through the stuff, this exhibition offers some gems of contemporary art
waiting to be unearthed.