Art Fair Tokyo returned for another edition from 9th till 11th March 2018 at Tokyo International Forum, with the theme 'Art is Life'. For their 13th edition this year, Japan's biggest and oldest art fair, featured a total of 164 exhibits by both local and international exhibitors - the greatest number that has been showcased so far. Art Fair Tokyo is known for its curation of antiquities, alongside contemporary art and design, which gives the fair its unique character. For 2018, the fair featured more large-scale booths in the Galleries sector, and solo booths by emerging galleries in the Projects sector.
This year's edition of Art Fair Tokyo featured 153 galleries
The theme 'Art is Life' focuses on living with art by incorporating innovative art production methods such as installations and performance into portfolios and collections, in addition to historical methods of art production such as oil painting and sculpture. Many galleries such as Perrotin, and UG Gallery created innovative and immersive booths which focused on a single artist. At 2pm on the day of the Art Fair Tokyo Vernissage, throngs of collectors and VIPs shuffled into the exhibition hall to get an exclusive first look at the booths - a testament to the healthy art market within Tokyo, and proven by the reported record sales of JPY 2.92 billion ( approximately US$ 27,830,000) this year.
For Galerie Perrotin's Art Fair Tokyo debut, they presented a solo exhibition of works by Xu Zhen
Image courtesy of Galerie Perrotin
Art Fair Tokyo anchored its commitment to Japanese emerging artists and new media techniques and art creation through their 'Future Artists Tokyo - Switch Room' showcase that featured works by student work from six art universities.
Described as an exhibition that "is an experiment meant to create circuits that emit new light by connecting future culture-bearers scattered around Tokyo", wherein student curators act as switches that take 12 highly diverse works and juxtapose them against each other to create new conversations that look to the future of Japanese art creation.
An installation view of 'Future Artists Tokyo - Switch Room'
Image courtesy of ukit.tokyophoto
Also in the Tokyo International Forum, Lobby Gallery was 'PANGAEA TECTONICS – Diastrophism of Emerging Art ⇄ Diverging New Tales', an international exhibition that comprised of young artists recommended by nine ambassadors to Japan.
Curated by graduate students of Tokyo University of Art, the showcase comprised of works from Switzerland, Namibia, Italy, Israel, Hungary, France, DR Congo, Colombia and China, which were connected two hundred million years ago as a supercontinent known as Pangea that has since been separated by the shifting of tectonic plates; 'PANGAEA TECTONICS – Diastrophism of Emerging Art ⇄ Diverging New Tales' strives to bring them back together in a single exhibition which brings into relief the differences and similarities across the countries of the world.
Upon entering the Lobby Gallery, visitors were met with Art Fair Tokyo's recurring Art Car Project. This year, the open call for works to adorn the car, was selected with the theme of a "future society that is open to a diverse range of artists that exceed typical parameters". Japanese artist Haruka Asano's "Picture of winkles" was selected from 630 entries, and adorned a Tokyo MIRAI.
The Tokyo International Forum Lobby Art Award where the Art Car Project was showcased
Image courtesy of kobalog.jp
Walking around the fair, it was interesting to note that some booths were group shows by some artistic workshops such as Toyama Glass Studio and Kanazawa Utatsuyama Kogei Kobo. These workshops that focus on traditional techniques such as ceramics, urushi work, metal work and glass working showcased works by their best artists and craftspersons, serving as a reminder of Japan's strong artisnal heritage, which also gives the fair an interesting spin and providing young, but highly-skilled artists a platform to show their work.
Ceramic works by Hori Takaharu at the Kanazawa Utatsuyama Kogei Kobo booth
All in all, Art Fair Tokyo presented a highly condensed look into the Japanese art scene that has been perceived as somewhat insular and disconnected because of communication barriers. It proves that Japan has a rich and multi-faceted art world with much to offer in terms of Asian Contemporary Art, which deserves that slight extra effort to explore, and Art Fair Tokyo offers a bridge to access it more easily.
The Artling is proud to be a Media Partner of Art Fair Tokyo 2018.
Art Fair Tokyo 2018 runs from now till 11th March 2018 at the Tokyo International Forum. For more information click here.
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