Many Japanese artists incorporate elements of manga into their works, but very few make manga their own. Yuichi Yokoyama, whose solo exhibition, “Room and World Map,” opened last week at ARATANIURANO did just that. Off went a traditional storyline, Yokoyama’s focus is the motion itself. His nearly wordless, hyper dynamic take on the medium, which the artist himself refers to as “neo-manga,” utilizes every inch of the surface with a dense mix of angular lines, architectural plans and upright characters in pattern-rich outfits, cutting through retro-futuristic landscapes. Along with Yokoyama’s latest artworks from his newly published book, World Map Room, the exhibition features the artist’s earlier drawings and color paintings — a rare treat for both, art and manga lovers alike. Through July 6th.
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Keeping up with what has already become a good tradition, Taka Ishii opened an exhibition of Nobuyoshi Araki’s latest works, “EroReal,” on the photographer’s birthday. Backed by his house band, “Pathos,” Araki showered a crowd of his die-hard fans and art tourists with jokes and unique insights into his work, interrupted briefly by a slideshow consisted of beautiful light painting photographs, and the birthday cake, decorated with one of the master’s works.
Just as the title suggests, “EroReal” is Araki at what he does best — nudes, bondage, toys and flowers shot in deliberately quick, loose manner. It’s good to see him get his mojo back after a long hiatus, but there seemed to be a hardly visible cloud of defeat hanging over his head as he enthusiastically sprang around during the reception. As fresh as Araki looks, he’s no longer a horny ball of energy he once was, and the devil couldn’t care less image he has mastered over the years is visibly harder to maintain. He might have been happier with abstract photography and casual Moriyama-esque street snapshots, if the public were more supportive of his experiments, but the public want Araki they know and Araki needs praise. As if to illustrate it he suddenly went still during the slideshow — that moment, he looked content and at peace with himself. Through June 22nd.
Having made a name for himself by turning character fetish into art KAWS continues his foray into abstraction with “Ohhh…”, artist’s latest solo exhibition at Takashi Murakami run Kaikai Kiki Gallery. The works presented in a variety of shapes and sizes look like an Instagram feed from a toon planet blown to pieces. Amplified beyond their alleged miniature proportions, colorful, vaguely recognizable parts float in the airless gel of the atmosphere instantly stirring up collective childhood memories remaining in our stomachs like swallowed chewing gum. Through May 29th.
All You Need Is LOVE may sound like a questionable title for an art exhibition (the Japanese title of the show is simply “LOVE展”), but Mori Art Museum is a part of larger-than-life Roppongi Hills complex, which 10th Anniversary the museum co-celebrates, and the necessity to appeal to anyone who can sing along the BBC commissioned song is understandable. 10 years for a museum is both a little and a lot, during this time contemporary art has reached its all time high and just like the global economy it mirrors has been in downfall ever since. With hardly any government support the museum business is particularly hard in Japan, where only big, well-advertised names can ensure broad public interest and where art is yet to reach the level of mass appeal it enjoys in most of the Western world. In this sense the exhibition certainly delivers, the list of artists featured in the show reads like an art encyclopedia, Chagall, Magritte, Dali, Hirst, Koons are guaranteed to draw a large crowd. For those whose art appetite is no longer fulfilled with the “standards,” works by Nobuyoshi Araki, Chang En-Tzu, Nan Goldin and a video of Makoto Aida, whose excellent solo exhibition has just finished its run at the museum, victimized by his ex will nicely balance out hearts and pink pinpointing the exhibition route. Through September 1st.
Apple is the latest target of notorious logo liquidator, French artist Zevs, in his exhibition “Zevs: 楽園 / Heaven” at Tokyo’s best kept secret, The Container. The iconic logo is the centerpiece of two works displayed at the show, as an external projection on a faceless laptop and as a repeating element in the artist’s inverted remake of “Adam and Eve,” the classic Renaissance painting by Lucas Cranach, in which it also replaces the original forbidden fruit. Through July 14th.
The Japanese love celebrities. Japanese celebrities love Mika Ninagawa. It goes without saying men and women featured in the photographer’s latest exhibition, “Lucky Star — Ninagawa Men & Women,” are no mere mortals. Every portrait forming a shape of a star in the middle of SPACE O in the landmark Omotesando Hills is a portrait of a star, a lucky star, both figuratively and literally (“Lucky Star” is also the name of Ninagawa’s own production company). Her signature, oversaturated multicolor imagery came to life at the opening when the space became thick with celebrities, casually socializing under their own portraits. Through May 6th.
The first part of an extensive Francis Alÿs exhibition at MOT, “Mexico Survey,” draws you straight in and keeps you marveling all the way to the end. Much has been written about the artist’s allegorical social and political observations, but underneath it all lays pure, boy like, “What if?” wonder, making his works appeal on a very emotional level. Light yet not lightweight, mass-appealing yet very personal, the pace and gentle humanism of Alÿs’s works bring to mind films of Jacques Tati, a rare sensation for a contemporary art show. “Part I: Mexico Survey” is on display through June 9th, “Part II: Gibraltar Focus” June 29th—September 8th.