Gadabout | Gadabout Contemporary art and culture. Tokyo Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:24:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hiroshi Sugimoto: Lost Human Genetic Archive Wed, 12 Oct 2016 23:10:01 +0000 “Today, the world died. Or maybe yesterday.” is a preface for each of thirty three apocalyptic scenarios at Lost Human Genetic Archive, a major solo exhibition of Hiroshi Sugimoto based on Aujourd'hui, le monde est mort [Lost Human Genetic Archive], held at Palais de Tokyo in 2014, featuring exhibited for the first time Abandoned Theater and a new installation Sea of Buddha. The exhibition—which reopens newly renovated the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, now Top Museum—showcases the artist's extensive private collection and his encyclopedic knowledge of history by means of the-end-of-the-world testimonials told by an eclectic cast of imaginary characters, ranging from the human genome code-breaker to Love Doll Angé.

For Sugimoto, objects, a product characteristic of our species, is the only proof that the world around him really exists, a sentiment which could be easily attributed to Marcel Duchamp, the artist he openly admires and whom he quotes throughout the exhibition. But whereas Duchamp was fond of playing word games, laying groundwork for every artist ever since, he was too aware of limitations imposed by the language and exploited it to warp what's perceived to be real, instead of defining it through description. Surprisingly, Sugimoto chose to enliven each story with narratives, for better or worse exposing his human nature, normally held in check by intellectual self-restrain he employs to an utmost, godlike effect. More paradoxically, by doing so he partially stripped the objects he chose to convey the stories of self-evident powers, he says he believes they posses over words.

Depending on your point of view, this contradictory decision makes this otherwise well-attuned exhibition more, or less compelling, but whether you choose to go along, come up with your own storylines, or do without them altogether, Lost Human Genetic Archive is without a question Sugimoto's most intimate show to date. Through November 13th.

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Ren Hang: Tokyo Sat, 24 Sep 2016 01:10:08 +0000 Ren Hang's photography tickles a sweet spot between instant I-dare-you snapshot aesthetic and staged art-inspired fashion story sans clothes. His quick rise from an exotic young talent, hailing from—as if in a well-plotted PR stunt—censorship-friendly China, effectively bypassing common landmark museum/gallery exhibition route to prominence, is a certified Internet success story in itself. With a love 'n' survival movie in the works which he writes and is set to direct next year, Hang is clearly not intent on playing by the book.

Notoriously tight-lipped—What do you enjoy the most besides photography? “Write poems.” What does sex mean to you? “Sex means sex.”—we asked his models to share their experience of working with him instead.


—What were your expectations of modeling for Ren?
MahitoThePeople (GEZAN), Musician, 27: “I wanted to feel something I couldn't express in words, and to see the lines of my own body I've never seen.”


—What was the most exciting part about the shooting, is there anything new you have discovered about yourself?
sac (Ms. Machine): “It was a challenging experience to expose myself with no guise. His work made me face scenes I'd never come across in my everyday life. He creates his world by using motifs people would avert their eyes from, so his photos feel otherworldly.”

Usamaru Manami, Nude Model, 24: “His idea of beauty is bold but delicate, so incredibly demanding like taking unbelievable postures or standing on the verge of falling to death. I found myself excited with his thrilling requests. Everything was pleasure. Being naked in front of Ren Hang felt very natural. It was a joy to liberate myself from the guilty feeling I had with nudity so far.”

All photos © Ren Hang


Special thanks to Kenichi Nakahashi for helping to prepare the material.

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Thomas Ruff at MOMAT Fri, 09 Sep 2016 22:20:39 +0000 The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo sets the tone for the new season with the first retrospective of Thomas Ruff in Japan. Renown for challenging the photographic medium through appropriation and the juxtaposition of found imagery, Ruff, one of the first photographers to embrace digital artifacts, is instrumental in elevating photography to conceptual art heights. All career-defining series in place, and there are four new works produced for the occasion, but it's randomly scattered over top floors works of Karl Blossfeldt, László Moholy-Nagy, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gerhard Richter, Ruff's peer Andreas Gursky and Wolfgang Tillmans from MOMAT Collection, that give a real insight into the photographer's work, revealing multiple interconnections and placing it within historical context. Through November 13th.

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Ryuichiro Otake Fri, 05 Aug 2016 23:35:25 +0000 I’ve come to use iPad to produce most of my works.


I had lived in a 30 mat atelier [1 mat = 180 x 90cm], where I could do anything, thanks to the broad space and kindness of a landlord. But since I could try whatever I wanted, it seemed to have blurred the core of my art-making. The room was getting filled with works I failed to complete, eventually piling up to a ton of garbage. I had to go back and forth between the room and a waste disposal plant more than ten times until the room became empty. Dumping materials untouched since the DIY store cashier into a void, I thought of keeping away from things for a while. Then I decided to move to a one-room apartment in Kanda, to limit my working environment to a desk alone.


Naturally, I came to paint on a computer. Although I had already occasionally used a pen tablet for almost 10 years, I turned more serious about painting digitally.


There is much difference between what I paint on a computer and on an iPad. I bought an iPad to paint outdoor as well, but I nearly gave it up because touch screen worked so differently.


I came back to iPad after toying with it along with my artist friend, Ichiro Isobe. Within a few days of painting on the tablet, I found it to be compatible with improvisation. I can feel my physical sense reach to the screen more intimately as an image directly follows my fingers. Through further trials with improvisation, I finally found the style of recent works, with lines turning around on a surface. Initially, I expected to make a handprint by putting my hand on the screen. Lifting my hand off, however, I found a result beyond my expectation—the hand on the screen caused multiple simultaneous inputs, leaving an image of random lines.


Not only do those lines run erratically, but also the screen repeats teleportation-like move in all directions with various scaling, leaving me almost no room for control. The only judgement I’m allowed is the timing I leave my hand off from the touch screen.


I create my works by trying to slip my intention into such uncontrollable phenomena. This results in images somewhere between my own creation and automatism. The image can be seen as my handprint since it traces the shape of my hand, somewhat proving my existence, but with glitch generated in the process. I use this random behavior to produce paintings that resemble convoluted colorful pipes. I employ skills I’ve acquired through exploring this method to randomly input colors and line-shapes like a DJ scratching records. Resulting images look like huge structures, and the mass of entangled pipe-like objects reminds me of old sci-fi films image boards.


It takes 3 to 10 minutes to have a work done. I work as a guard in Saitama, spending 3 hours in total commuting on a train, which I often use for painting. I also paint in short breaks during the job.


I try not to judge resulting images by how good they look in terms of visual composition. I choose works whose working process becomes no longer detectable. I want an image to be a trace of my deed.


I feel I have come to see painting differently. Probably because I have worked with mechanical mentality, trying to deviate from human judgement, I became more sensitive to human scent in other painters’ works. Painting digitally helps me recognize it more clearly.


It’s like hovering around humans, observing them. It feels funny that my sensitivity is becoming mixed with insect-like one, similar to the film “The Fly.” I think a new beauty is born out of violent blend of essentially incompatible things. Going on this way, I expect to come across a new beauty, something different from what we know now.


Ryuichiro Otake

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Kenta Cobayashi Thu, 14 Jul 2016 04:20:42 +0000 "You / Sleep / of I / push / A / time do not know / RO / butterfly / Brown / memory larva collection to / of / Yes / Yes"

On / off / output changed the consciousness of / not length / have by interrupting another person / dream start / media recognition Bell / B the end of the / one day when that has been born in this world is / they / please refer to the paragraph of the bride objective factors / faster than the same unity effort / dissolved in the nonsense throughput / light /
"#photos" For the first time / this place / still published in not label / because there is no in / conversion time is the Earth's have a double image / multiple local / or completely imagined patient beam of the blog in 2011 / put a couple galleries and publishers / all quotes / her health and Instagram is / it did not / consideration

Photo / processor / or trade and net change in the size of it means / change little finger digital switching / off that the movement of the moving in / increase is enlarged in accordance with the same name / agent / image recording is need to create / There will lighting and silent / this new trailer form allows you to note the study of the image film / camera attached degree as / as / new molecule

How any repetition / open / another thing to belong / someone to work within the Internet / are trying to expand the world and / theory / director of the framework I think / draw / you know as / you try for you / because / it determines the period of time you do not mind affect me as the last remnants of the hopelessly when not to go anywhere in the seed / game / I it is arch tooth / USA / I do not know
*The text was generated by the artist from a Japanese original through a series of automated translations between Latin, Hebrew, Chinese, Dutch, French, Esperanto and other languages, then translated back to Japanese and English.
Kenta Cobayashi
All photos © Kenta Cobayashi/Courtesy of G/P gallery, Tokyo

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Betty Tompkins Sat, 25 Jun 2016 01:25:38 +0000 Betty Tompkins' life story reads like a movie plot: a feminist artist—denied by many feminists—who championed explicit sexual imagery long before it became a thing, consequent censorship, near obscurity and recent “rediscovery.” It illustrates not even ever shifting margins of art perception, as how far we, as a society, came since 1960s, when Tompkins rendered her first canvases. From sexual oppression to celebrating female sexuality. From the legalization of pornography to modeling our behavior on it. From raise of gender equality movements to women holding key positions in business, politics, media and culture.

Yet, even within the context of all these changes, her work stubbornly refuses to be pigeonholed. Tompkins doesn't give you much to hang on to. Down to the titles, her mostly monochromatic, large scale paintings are purposely stripped off any gimmicks. Unapologetically direct, they have an effect of Rorschach test—your outtake is more you than what it is, a reflection of your own upbringing, beliefs and moral values. In equal parts provocative, abstract, conceptual or none of the above.


For this feature the artist chose to do a small retrospective of her work accompanied by her own notes.

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Akane Nakajima Sat, 11 Jun 2016 08:20:08 +0000 You can do it anytime, anywhere. That's why I started drawing.


When I see something, be it a thing or a living creature, I'm captivated by the atmosphere it silently radiates. In the beginning, I didn't mean to draw, just scribbled. Drawing over and over again occasionally brings my mind someplace I never thought of. I keep on drawing, to see what comes next.


A line left by a pencil improvising on a piece of copy paper turns into a plane, when its ends meet and inside is filled with color.


I’m bound to a rule I made—draw lines, and color emerging fields—which allows me to just let my hand drift around and create at least something. The results are often very different from my ideal, but as I make those shapes one after another, I feel: “Well, this would also be fine, once in a while.”


My hand does not move like a high-spirited dog romping around excitedly, it's more like one lost, clueless in a vast field, sometimes only able to wander in the same place awkwardly.


The drawing goes on like that, with trust in what's taking shape, capturing the very moment of its making.


Akane Nakajima

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