Art Fair Tokyo 2014: From ancient artifacts to 1960′s avant-garde and contemporary pop

It’s March again and for the Japanese art scene calendar, that means only one thing: Art Fair Tokyo.

2014′s edition of Japan’s largest art event features 180 booths from galleries and other organizations, showcasing everything from antiques to contemporary Japanese and international art for three days at the Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho.

This year the fair is also joined by the Japan Media Arts Festival, which is screening some of its recent award-winners.

The fair starts today and runs until Sunday, March 9th. PingMag went along to the preview and here are some of our personal highlights.

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Every year Art Fair Tokyo works with Mercedes-Benz to create a “Japan art car”, this year designed by Teppei Kaneuji, who also re-jigged the fair’s 2014 logo.

art fair tokyo 2014

Yoshihiko Satoh’s “Present Arms Arc Type (Candy Apple Red)” (2011), a guitar hydra at the Koh-Jutsu section, which highlights Japanese artists’ tradition of craftsmanship and technical excellence.

art fair tokyo 2014

Koh-jutsu is curated by Rontgenwerke AG gallery’s Tsutomu Ikeuchi. Here is insect art by Haruo Mitsuta.

art fair tokyo 2014

If you need refreshments during a tour of the fair you can head to this special café in the middle, decked out with cardboard furniture made by PAP-design.

art fair tokyo 2014

Some of the furniture is plain while others are freshly painted by artist Aki Kondo.

art fair tokyo 2014

This is Kondo (in the French maid costume), taking a break from her decorating.

art fair tokyo 2014

At the Taro Nasu gallery booth, two of Simon Fujiwara’s “Rebekkah (An Education)” terra-cotta sculptures stood in front of a painting by Alessandro Raho.

art fair tokyo 2014

A must see for any fan of Japanese photography or the 1960′s and 1970′s, “Total Recall — Works of Mitsutoshi Hanaga (1959-1999)” features dozens of the photographer’s work documenting the experimental arts and the turbulent social changes of the postwar period. Look out for Hi-Red Center, Zero Jigen, the student movement…

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…as well as a host of photographs for the then nascent Ankoku Butoh dance movement.

art fair tokyo 2014

The popular works of sculptor Katsura Funakoshi at the Nishimura Gallery Booth.

art fair tokyo 2014

This year G-plus joined Art Fair Tokyo to showcase some of the city’s contemporary art galleries’ offerings. This is a sculpture by Keisuke Tanaka, represented by Yamamoto Gendai.

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However, also at the G-plus section, the prize for the most incongruous exhibit of the fair must surely be this genuine haniwa ancient burial mound artifact.

art fair tokyo 2014

Back to the twenty-first century, Taku Obata’s work, meanwhile, is heavily influenced by breakdancing. Here it was one of the main exhibits in the booth by Side Core.

Art Fair Tokyo
March 7th to 9th, 2014
Tokyo International Forum
http://artfairtokyo.com/en