"Cosmic Travelers" @ Espace Louis Vuitton in Tokyo

For its third exhibition, Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo presents a group show dedicated to Japanese contemporary art - “Cosmic Travelers – Toward the Unknown”.

The exhibition highlights two generations of artists - around the historically grounded figure of Noriyuki Haraguchi, who embodies the links between Western and Japanese avant-gardes, are gathered a new generation of young Japanese artists who use different media to express themselves: Ataru Sato, Tomoko Shioyasu, Masakatsu Takagi and Go Watanabe. Highly refreshing to see that Japanese contemporary art is more than cute little girls and erotic fiction! 

Haraguchi is known for his use of discarded industrial materials to create geometrical structures that explore relationship between space and materials in a way that challenges our perception of reality. He has created site-specific works since the Seventies, and for this exhibition, he presents “Triad”, which consists of the three related pieces including an aluminum container with a black liquid at the bottom that creates a lacquer-like surface which reflects the surrounding space, including his other two "sculptures" with perfect clarity. (I actually thought it was a mirror!)

Multi-media artist Takagi’s work is a “moving painting” that brings forth a feeling of riding on the oceanic waves of constantly changing color and form, while Watanabe's video creates an animated landscape out of everyday cups and bowls stacked in a kitchen sink.

Sato sensed sacredness from the tall exhibition space that has abundant natural light streaming through the glass windows, and he created a portrait of a god entitled “Sign”. His provocative vision is composed of convoluted amalgamations of deformed, fragmented body parts.

The most impressive work is that  of Shioyasu who has created an exquisitely detailed paper-cutting scroll, so tall that it seems imposible to have been made by hands (The photos don't quite render justice to his uber delicate work!). Here she transforms the traditional decorative medium of Kiri-e into a dynamic harmony of patterns emulating natural elements such as water droplets, bubbles and cells. The large scroll , eight meters in length and two meters in width, floats in the exhibition space just as its title “Flowing Sky” refers and also cast an interest shadow at night. Her other piece, “Bubbles” , a three-dimensional collage of round shapes made with pierced holes in synthetic paper, is as beautiful, floating freely in an acrylic case. Definitely an artist I want to see much more of!