Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Visual Deception - Bunkamura Exhibition Tokyo

The exhibition currently running at the Bunkamura museum is titled Visual Deception. The theme is "Trompe-l’oeil", paintings that trick the eye. The first section holds 16th and 17th century examples: a flat canvas that looks like a marble relief; a young lad climbing out of the picture frame (An image used in some of the posters); a paper note nailed to some wood; a picture of a picture.

Moving on, Archimboldo's portrait of Vertumnus/Rudolf II depicted in vegetables is displayed in Japan for the first time.

One section is dedicated to Japanese works demonstrating similar effects, for example scrolls where the ties are painted on, rather than actual pieces of material.

Artists from the 20th century include Salvador Dali and MC Escher. Three of his works are displayed including the well known 'impossible building' Belvedere and Waterfall where the water wheel looks like it can run forever.

Another of my favorite artists is Rene Magritte. I visited an exhibition of his work in Seoul a few years ago. Here in Tokyo, three of his works are on show including Attempting the Impossible:

Rene Magritte, copy of painting Attempting the Impossible

[He was a far more successful Belgian artist than a certain Antoine Wiertz described in the Economist as "perhaps the worst painter to have a government-funded museum all to himself" in an article relating the perils of governments supporting ventures that may, at the time, seem like a great idea, but turn out to be less enduringly popular.]

The exhibition concludes with some contemporary works including two tilt shift photos from a Japanese photographer, whose name I failed to make a note of and, since I was too stingy to buy the exhibition catalog, I now have no record of.

Bunkamura Museum,24-1, Dogenzaka 2-chome Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-3477-9111

Until : Sunday 16th Aug 2009

Opening Hours:
10:00 to 19:00. (Friday and Saturday until 21:00). (Admission up until 30 minutes before closing)

5 minutes walk from Shibuya Station

Adults 1400 yen
Students 1000 yen
Children 700 yen.

Due to the huge demand for the exhibition we had to queue for 25 minutes on Sunday for a ticket. But if you plan ahead, tickets can be purchased online (in Japanese only) at Ticket Pia Lawson Ticket and e + (IPURASU). Or at Seven Eleven, Family Mart, Circle K, Sunkus, JTB and Tokyu Plaza Travel Center.

It was a crowded exhibition so be prepared to wait in line to admire the art works close up, but it's well worth the effort.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Neoteny - Contemporary Art Exhibition , Tokyo

I don't always like modern art, but the exhibition currently on at the Royal Museum in Ueno Tokyo showed some of the most interesting and intriguing pieces I've seen in a long time.

cropped image of poster for neoteny.jp Exhibition, Royal Museum, Ueno , Tokyo. copied (without permission ) from neoteny.jp Image shamelessly copied from neoteny.jp.

From the mirrored sculpture of a six legged wolf by Konoike Tomoko at the start, to the small group of creatures made of bamboo (perhaps?) on the way out, I was enthralled.

The exhibition includes almost one hundred works from thirty three Japanese artists. The range of material and subjects was outstanding. Some of my favourites included :

"History of Rise and Fall" by Ikeda Manabu. This 2m by 2m canvas includes such an enormous amount of detail in the imaginary landscape I could have looked at it for hours and still discovered something new.

The huge canvas from Aida Makoto entitled Giant Salamander. If it hadn't been for the title, I might have missed the very large aquatic creature in the middle of the picture.

"Human Lesson, Dress 01", which is where the wolf's head in the poster comes from, (and yes, it is a dress.. kind of) and the Victorian looking instrument of torture entitled Fingerspanner both from Odani Motohiko.

A modern take on a classic Japanese style of painting from Yamaguchi Akira entitled Modern Times.

And many many more. I highly recommend it, but hurry, the exhibition ends on July 15th.


The Ueno Royal Museum ,Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0007
TEL: 03-3833-4191 http://www.ueno-mori.org

Until : Wednesday, July 15 2009

Opening Hours:
10:00 to 18:00. Fridays until 20:00. (Admission up until 30 minutes before closing)

3 minutes walk from JR Ueno Station

Adults 1200 yen
Students 1000 yen

More photos on the blog neoteny.jp blog