Tuesday, 10 July 2012

ART Osaka: 50 galleries and me, up in the clouds

Earlier this year I visited ART Kyoto and this weekend it was Osaka's turn to bring together 50 galleries form all over Japan, i.e. Kanazawa, Gifu, Hokkaido, Nagoya, Tokyo and of course the  Kansai region. And some international flavour was added by art galleries from abroad, like Taiwan, Korea and China. With these great art events I'm attending these months I'm discovering a whole new world of contemporary art that was unknown to me before and I can't get enough of it!

Where in Kyoto Hotel Monterey was one of the locations for the fair, in Osaka Hotel Granvia's 26th floor was the main location for this event. Though the 26th floor is not a place I normally care to spend my time, (I get nauseous on speedy lifts), one apparently has to endure all kinds of hardships to enjoy art! But it was worth it, I had such a wonderful time! And once traveled with the speed of light, you are actually (almost) up in the clouds. Not only by seeing all this great art brought together, but also by the spectacular view! This event can only be a winner, with a location like this. And true, using hotel rooms is not the most practical choice, because it can get crowded very easy in the small rooms. More so when a gallery chooses to even use the bathroom to exhibit work. But I still like the quirkiness of it, the intimate atmosphere it creates and the fun. Visitors and gallery owners are literally brought closer together!

For instance I had such an interesting chat with artist Makoto Morimura about his 'Butterfly girls' project. In Japan a type of bar called 'host club' (or host bar/cabaret club) is well known here, but not so common in Europe. These bars have a rather steep entrance fee and high prices for their drinks. On the other hand you get to talk to beautiful girls, entertaining you and having drinks together, but no sex is involved. This type of entertainment reminds me strongly of the traditional geisha, only a contemporary adaptation. For his project, the artist picks up the flyers of these shot bars and cuts out the girls. From these tiny pieces of paper he folds traditional origami butterflies, since these girls are also known as 'butterflies of the night'. That brings the concept full circle I think. He warned me I should obtain a piece of his work now, before he get's famous and his work really expensive!

Furthermore, I found the work of Hiroshi Shinno just absolutely stunning. He makes fantasy insect creatures mixed with elements of plants and flowers with acryl on synthetic resin. The picture I took is not so great, but I love his bigger pieces anyway. Please have a look at his website, because his work is gorgeous. Other pieces of interest were by Ryoko Takahashi, who works with human hair. The sculpture of the girl in grey is by Jingab Jeong, the small sculptured clothes on the window by Nakanishi Yuki.

This year was the 10th anniversary of ART Osaka, and I hope they will continue to bring great art together for a long time to come.


  1. Dear Christel,

    We are very glad to hear that you enjoyed Art Osaka 2012. We have just featured your post on our Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/artosaka.jp

    We'll keep our fans updated with fresh pics and downloadable reports on our English blog http://artosaka.tumblr.com/ and on the official website: www.artosaka.jp/en/

    Thank you for coming !

    Marketing&Intl Relations, ArtOsaka2012

    1. Wow, that's great, ōkini! I'll have a look right away!