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Media Art of Okamoto, Yamaguchi and Others: Taro Okamoto Museum of Art

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Media Art of Okamoto, Yamaguchi and Others: Taro Okamoto Museum of Art
Keiichi Tanaka's 'Luminous' (2014). Courtesy of: Japan Times

The exhibition ‘Taro Okamoto and Media Art’ is currently on view at the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art in Kawasaki, Japan. A showcase of works of Taro Okamoto, Yoshihiro Yamaguchi, and others currently on display examine the influence of Okamoto's utilization of intermedia methodologies in art making. He was interested in the idea of what art could be, rather than simply allowing others to decide this for him. This interest is what lead to the fabrication of pioneering new media works. This exhibition includes pieces in the mediums of: video, film, and digital works, among others. Additionally the exhibition presents the works of ten other artists today who have been influenced by the work and philosophy of Taro Okamoto.

Exhibition View of Installation with LED light,  Hiroyuki Moriwaki. ‘Taro Okamoto and Media Art’, 2018. Courtesy of: Taro Okamoto Museum of Art

Exhibition View of Installation with LED light, Hiroyuki Moriwaki. ‘Taro Okamoto and Media Art’, 2018. Courtesy of: @cariforniaking

With a clear artistic vision that did not always mesh with the trends of the time, he was determined to continue to push forward his ideas in variant mediums. This ambition lead to him being known today as a pioneer of new media art in Japan.

Taro Okamoto lived from 1911 to 1996. He has been described as an artist who was on his own trajectory during the avant-garde and stayed true to this. With a clear artistic vision that did not always mesh with the trends of the time, he was determined to continue to push forward his ideas in variant mediums. This ambition lead to him being known today as a pioneer of new media art in Japan. Additional to his own practice, he was renowned as a generous teacher. In this role he helped to influence many young artists by teaching them alternatives to traditional mediums in making art, as well as conceptual lessons that permitted them to see and think differently about their relationship to realizing works of art. Today the influence that Okamoto has left on younger artists in Japan is notable.

Exhibition View, ‘Taro Okamoto and Media Art’, 2018. Courtesy of: Taro Okamoto Museum of Art

Early on in his career he was inspired by Okamoto; the works on display capture the respect that he had for his mentor through an homage.

Yoshihiro Yamaguchi is an artist said to follow closely in the trajectory of Okamoto in his works of video art, intermedia art, and expansions into environmental art. Early on in his career he was inspired by the divergent approaches in the work Okamoto as oppose to the mainstream. The works on display capture the respect that he had for his mentor through an homage. Yamaguchi and Okamoto met in 1948 at an art course over the summer held at the Ochanomizu Cultural Academy. Since then, the two were in contact and were collaborating on art related events that left a great impression on the Japanese contemporary art community.

The multi-talented Yamaguchi studied towards a law and sciences degree from Nihon University, and continued to explore his passion in the arts. He started to lead workshops and put efforts towards operating a research group with fellow artists Kitano Shozo and Taro Okamoto. “Kaikai” and “Avant-Garde Art Research Group” were among the initiatives that Yamaguchi dedicated his time towards.

Exhibition View, ‘Taro Okamoto and Media Art’, 2018. Courtesy of: Taro Okamoto Museum of Art

The intersecting waves of reds and blues is akin to a momentary mergence of both birth and death, as it is reminiscent of star life cycles and of the human body.

Additionally, Keiichi Tanaka’s work "Luminous" moves the viewer into an alternative space and time. The image is evocative of a cosmic blast, collision, or supernova aftermath. The intersecting waves of reds and blues is akin to a momentary mergence of both birth and death, as it is reminiscent of star life cycles and of the human body. The abstract nature of the image premits multiple interpretations and projected potentials as to what it is desired to be, versus what it actually is.

Hiroyuki Moriwaki’s installation with LED lights is one of the several works on view. In this piece, the viewer is confronted with a large three panel wall installation of clear LED lights. When the viewer steps in front of the LED display however, the bulbs light up red and take on the shape of the viewers cast shadow. The interactive nature of this new media work is truly inspired by Okamoto and Yamaguchi’s influence.

Exhibition View, ‘Taro Okamoto and Media Art’, 2018. Courtesy of: Taro Okamoto Museum of Art

The exhibition ‘Taro Okamoto and Media Art’ in many ways is a historical survey that showcases both contemporary works that voice the current concerns in art, as well as earlier works from post-war Japan. What the Taro Okamoto museum aimed to achieve in this show is ‘a fusion between both art and newfound, modern technology.’ The Taro Okamoto Museum of Art is located in Kawasaki. The exhibition run dates are November 3, 2017 and will remain installed until January 28, 2018. For more information on ticketing, hours of operation, accessibility and directions, please visit: https://www.taromuseum.jp/english/index_english.html.

Additionally, visit the special exhibition website at: https://taroandmediaart.com/

 

 


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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