Give us orange! The decorated portal of 101TOKYO Art Fair as it was held last week in an empty school building in Akihabara for the first time. Daytime was for the arts, the nights were for its related parties...

Best Of 101TOKYO Art Fair

Last week, Tokyo saw four days of exiting new art stuff in Tokyo! The new 101TOKYO Art Fair premiered in the comfy surroundings of an empty gym hall in Akihabara. Fourteen Japanese and fourteen international galleries presented their artist roster, leaving the PingMag all-stars sedulously running around for a lot to discover! Plus all these Bloomberg lectures, art talks, performances and nightly parties… For today, PingMag shows you a sweet visual round up for those who missed it – best of 101Tokyo Art Fair 2008.

Written by PingMag All-Stars

The Opening: A Food Performance That Stirred The Packed Hall

We told already you about the delicious Food Creation art last year. This genuine artist entertains your eyes and your taste buds. And for the opening of 101TOKYO, Food Creation presented a bizarre performance by bearded women and pregnant men entitled “the Menu of Confusion.” Not surprisingly, this specially prepared finger food to stimulate your sensed with its textures disappeared into people’s mouths in no time….

The performance by Food Creation: a dubious-looking man serving a plate of prosciutto.

And the finger food served is, of course,…

… entirely edible! Yummy!

Merging Art – With Cake

Osamu Watanabe from Yamaguchi has been applying cake decorations to all sorts of things under the influence of his mother, who was an instructor of a confectionery class. At the fair, @GALLERY TAGBOAT presented his “The Birth of Venus” and “Discobolos” based on the world-renowned masterpieces. We’ll definitely keep our eyes out for more of his humorous works in the future!


“The Birth of Venus” with sweets decor by Osamu Watanabe…

… and a very cakey “Discobolos,” also by Osamu Watanabe.

A Most Colourful Shrine – From Souvenirs

Gallery Zenshi in Kiyosumi, Koto, presented Masaki Kishimoto. Taking a closer look, you can tell that the “Untitled (2008)” consists of a combination of specialities from certain districts and similar objects you wouldn’t normally come across in Tokyo. In fact, the artist apparently gathered up souvenirs given to him by his friends and acquaintances – in other words, “bits and pieces of memories” – to create this piece as a shrine to memory!

Now, this would be the Nu Rave version of a shrine… “Untitled (2008)” by Masaki Kishimoto.

The Fruit Battery Table

Jo Coupe’s “Enough Rope,” seen at the stall of Workplace Gallery from Newcastle, is inspired by the fact that potatoes can produce electricity. Still, it left everyone wondering how it actually worked… In the end, the table was going to cut off its own legs – and she was the one to receive the “Bacon,” an award presented to one of the artists represented at 101 TOKYO!

From far in the fair, people were wondering who or what made these ticking noises – “Enough Rope” by Jo Coupe.

Metaphysic Spaces

Berlin-based artist Heiko Blankenstein, presented by Galerie Alexandra Saheb, Berlin, enlightens our currently rainy days with his mystically green-lit light boxes – Bavarian Alps, anyone? Meticulously he carves out epic landscape panoramas complete with snowcapped mountains, frolicking deer and the (not quite blue) clears skies. Only that this sentimental film setting is transferred into a three-dimensional space that envisions parallel a more urban context where you have members of a rock band simultaneously headbanging towards the amplifier.

Heiko Blankenstein, laughing at the stars, 2008, light box. Galerie Alexandra Saheb, Berlin.

Breaking the Waves

Syoin Kajii of FOIL GALLERY in Tokyo. This reclusive Japanese artist actually has a BA in Mikkyo, in esoteric Buddhism, and indeed is a Buddhist monk of the Shingon sect who captured the breaking waves on Sado Island with his digicam. His photo book NAMI from 2004 still feels fresh from the salty spray.

Romantic drama referencing the great wave… Also cover of the NAMI photo book by Syoin Kajii. Courtesy of the artist and FOIL GALLERY. © Syoin Kajii
Majestic wave scapes, by Syoin Kajii, taken at Sado Island. Courtesy of the artist and FOIL GALLERY, Tokyo. © Syoin Kajii

Fine Anime Line Drawing

Does Gatchaman, Vampire Hunter D or Final Fantasy ring a bell? We won’t reveal too much of anime sensei Yoshitaka Amano‘s work, since there is soon more to come here… Represented by Hong Kong-based Art Statements Gallery.


Amano’s work at 101, courtesy of Art Statements Gallery, Hong Kong.

courtesy of Art Statements Gallery, Hong Kong.

Layering Geometry

Asked by un Magazine why she would characteristically combine abstract elements with naturalistic scenarios and whether they had a symbolic meaning, Australian artist Viv Miller replied, “They are not symbolic because they’re empty motifs; they seem to be offering some kind of symbolism but they are more like red herrings.” Layers of geometrical patterns and objects give a nice spatial feel. Presented by Neon Parc gallery from Melbourne.


Australian Viv Miller’s layered objects… At Neon Parc gallery from Melbourne.

… seem to extend the spaciousness. By Neon Parc gallery from Melbourne.

Expressive Colours By Tim Biskup

You surely must have encountered him before – Tim Biskup is quite well known for his uber sweet vinyl toys and animations. Currently, he is working as a creator of fine arts: His work presented by Iguapop Gallery from Barcelona depicts a woman’s body and face with solid geometry and her lively energy through the use of vivid colours.


A lady in vivid colours by Tim Biskup…

… and the geometric abstractness of a silhouette, also by Tim Biskup.

Indian Art Is The Next Thing!

After studying art, T. V. Santhosh born in Kerala, India, went on to perceive his art career in Mumbai. This blazing photoi experiment his called “STV-152” and was featured by The Guild Art Gallery based in Mumbai and New York.

“STV-152” by T. V. Santhosh.

The Wistful Touch…

Look at these enigmatic creatures made out polystyrene foam and paper! Artist Shintaro Ohara hails from Hiroshima, but lives now in Saitama. His “Hikoki-gumo (Contrails)” was represented by YUKARI ART CONTEMPORARY.


The shy girl – in green. “Hikoki-gumo” by Shintaro Ohata.

The deep thinker contemplating next to you – “Hikoki-gumo” by Shintaro Ohata.

Bleak Supper Including Hoodies

British Maya Hewitt from London shows us a slightly darker version of the Last Supper. Presented by MISAKO & ROSEN, her humorous depiction didn’t miss out on the sneakers and hoodies of the dinner guests…

Maya Hewitt’s interpretation of the Last Supper, in street wear.

Family issues by Maya Hewitt…

… and more sadness, by Maya Hewitt.

Back To Nature – On the Fantastic Route

New York’s ATM Gallery featured Saeko Takagi, who also happens to be the partner of artist Masakatsu Takagi. No doubt, her mesmerisingly translucent use of colours caught the eyes of everyone at the fair. By the way, Saeko Takagi has also taken home several prizes, including the Semi-Grand Prix of the Showa Shell Sekiyu Modern Art Award.

Wild nature on it course, by Saeko Takagi.

The Capsule Toy Factory

Lastly, 101 had a big students’ exhibition on the second floor: as part of the Ochabi Exhibition by Ochabi and the Ochanomizu College of Fine Arts & Design, Ochabi graduate Daiuske Wakano produced a dream-inspiring toy factory made from his favourite capsule toys. As it was switched on, the work fascinated visitors young and old with its rhythmically moving machines. So sweet!

Watch this! An awesome “automation toy farm” by Daisuke Wakeno.

Not To Forget The Atmosphere: The Closing And The Bacon Prize


A rocking 101Tokyo Art Fair opening with Ken Hamazaki’s tea ceremony performance in bright red…

… and the closing reception where Johnny Walker was raising donations for the very first “Bacon” award.

What a whirl! And we had fun, for sure! Finally, on Sunday, the 101 had its very first “Bacon” award, presented by acclaimed conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth. And and? Who won? It was the funny and clever table that cuts off its own legs, done by British Jo Coupe of Workplace Gallery from Newcastle. Congrats! Want to see more eye candy? Head over to our Ping site on Flickr, pelase!

  • Diego

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