Japan Urban Street Art @ Ikkan Art Gallery

Even without graffiti or stenciled art the new exhibition of urban street art from Japan at Ikkan Art International, has a very hip vibe. That sense might have something to do with the feelings created by the large breakdancing sculptures of Taki Obatu, a B-BOY dancer turned sculptor who has immortalize his crew in the ultimate “freeze’ stance. The hand-chiseled, wooden sculptures display a remarkable sense of energy and an uncannily real street attitude.
Maybe it’s also the Zen, pop, Mandala-like murals of creative husband and wife duo Hitotzuki, part of the influential art collective Barnstormers, or the tongue-in-cheek canvas byMadsaki, an artist and designer who has collaborated with the likes of Adidas Originals and Jun Takahashi, the influential fashion designer for Undercover.

“TokyoStreet,” a new exhibition by jointly organized by Ikkan Art and Clear Edition, an independent publisher and art gallery in Roppongi, Tokyo, presents a group of artists that interpret the origins of street culture as it exists in Japan. It is fresh and different from the usual Western street art brought in to Singapore and all the more exciting for that.

The highlight of the exhibition is Mikito Ozeki’s laboriously detailed paper cuts which echo the centuries-old Japanese paper-cut art, kiri-e, but which are also commentaries on contemporary society with for example, imagery of robots. Created from a single sheet of black parchment, the intricate paper cut-outs are a technical feat that bring to mind the question: “How does he do it?”

TokyoStreet will run until Feb 25 at Ikkan Art Gallery