Past Exhibition

life/art 04

The life/art ("life-slash-art") exhibition series, which has explored new creative realms falling between the traditional domains of "art" and "craft," now welcomes its long-awaited final event. Throughout the life/art series, we have reviewed the works of five artists in the forefront of contemporary Japanese art—Hajime Imamura, Kenichi Kanazawa, Yoshihiro Suda, Nobuyuki Tanaka and Masato Nakamura—from the same point of view over the past five years. This year, the life/art series finale will bring together the series' overarching theme of the relationships between art and craft, and between life and art, with each of the five participating artists contributing his individual ideas and concepts in turn in the form of a "relay exhibition."

The exhibition will begin with Hajime Imamura, whose creative approach has involved working with everyday items to produce works positioned somewhere between objects and sculptures, which are shaped with a unique sense of floating weightlessness. Imamura relates that he has become "particularly interested in the contiguousness and continuity among objects," and this is evidenced in his latest work, a collection of aluminum tubes brought together to create a foam-like object that pervades the exhibition hall, transforming the entire space itself into a dynamic object.

Artist Profile

Born in 1957. Completed the Masters program at Kyoto City University of Fine Arts (MFA). Currently lives and works in Kyoto. He is well known for his 'objects of wonder,' which he creates by arranging ordinary objects from daily life. Recently he has become involved in several exhibition projects and workshops where the artist and participants collaborate to produce works of art around the themes of 'everyday life' and 'art,' including More Happy Every Day at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, and Ephemeral Promenade: Hajime Imamura and Children at the Kyoto Art Center (both in 2005), while he frequently exhibits his own works at solo shows in his base towns of Kyoto and Osaka.

Second up will be Nobuyuki Tanaka, a lacquer artist whose interests have included finding ways to draw out the beauty inherent in lacquered surfaces and the forms that can be created through the movement of the fingers and hands. As a participant in life/art , his interests have expanded to embrace "involvement with building and construction." For this exhibition he will use dry-lacquer techniques to present both plate-shaped and organic-form works that portend the likely development of his work from now on.

Artist Profile

Born in Tokyo in 1959. Completed the Masters program (MFA) at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music. Currently teaches at Kanazawa College of Art. He has been interested in the potential of Japanese lacquer (urushi) and has pursued of creation of 'places for urushi.' Recently he has explored exhibition opportunities in a variety of sites, resulting in installation work inside a traditional Japanese-style house at the Kanazawa College of Art (2003), a solo exhibition in a gallery space with a mantelpieces in New York (Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Art, 2004), and collaborative work with a hotel architecture (Conrad Tokyo, 2005).

Third in line will be Kenichi Kanazawa, who continues his creation of forms in the medium of metal, and who has been putting energy into his Fragments of Sound series, in which his actual works are used to create musical performances. For this exhibition, which will include live performances, he will highlight the Cast-off Shells of Sound featuring the beauty inherent in the mosaic-like patterns that remain from the process of cutting out his Fragment of Sound pieces from iron plates. Kanazawa will also present a new body of video work that emerged from his collaboration last year with fellow artist Hajime Imamura.

Artist Profile

Born in Tokyo in 1956. Completed the Masters program at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music (MFA). Currently lives and works in Saitama Prefecture. Kanazawa has a long-term interest in working with steel to create sculptural works. His series Fragments of Sound has been widely acclaimed as high-quality metal sculptures closely associated with the performance of various human actions and senses: they offer not only visual pleasure but also other sensory experiences, through touch and sound. Recently Kanazawa has exhibited in several shows in Japan, including The Art of Breathing in the World: Art and Respiration (Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art/Sakura City Museum of Art, Chiba, 2005) and Fragments of Sound: Kanazawa Kenichi Exhibition, in the program of City of Resonance: Sendai Art Walk (Miyagi Prefectural Museum of Art, 2005).

Fourth up will be Masato Nakamura. Continuing his field work-based exploration of "art and education," and using the social symbology inherent in the signs of establishments like barbershops, convenience stores and McDonald's in his work, he has consistently explored the relationships between art and society, and between art and education. In this exhibition, Nakamura will present several works using pictorial representation, for him a new expressive medium.

Artist Profile

Born in AKita in 1963. Completed the Masters program at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music (MFA). Nakamura studied art both in Korea (1990-1992) and in Hong Kong (1997). He is known for his project-based engagement with art, society, and education. Nakamura first caught international attention through being selected as a representative for Japan at the 49th Venice Biennial in 2002. He is currently presiding over the Artist Initiative command N, and since 2003 has also been teaching at his alma mater as an assistant professor. His recent activities include the foundation of his studio base Kandada in the Kanda area of Tokyo (2005) for the direction of command N and curatorial projects in Asian countries.

Last on the bill will be Yoshihiro Suda, who will play the role of "hidden" leader holding the keys to this entire relay exhibition. Known for his unique representations of flowers and branches in the medium of delicately carved wood, for this exhibition he will install carved camellia blossoms in the vast 6-meter high gallery, a crowning finale to life/art '05 inspired by the concept of "seeming nothingness."

Artist Profile

Born in Yamanashi in 1969. Graduated from Tama Art University with major in graphic art (BFA). Currently lives and works in Tokyo. Since his debut in 1993, Suda has been known for his unique approach to space in which he installs delicate sculptures of plants, which he himself carves from wood, in discrete areas of exhibition space. His ‘installation’ work, based on this distinctive combination of his highly skilled wood carving and his original concept of space, has been widely acclaimed both at home and abroad. He has had two recent solo shows at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2004) and the Art Institute of Chicago (2005).

life/art has certainly gone well beyond most art exhibitions in the degree to which it has developed and unfolded through such strong dialog, mutual critique and learning, and friendly competition among the participating artists. In the 2001 exhibition, the sounds generated by Kanazawa's Fragments of Sound work reverberated throughout the exhibition space. Originally, the series was structured so that one of the artists would exhibit individually in a small exhibition room and the other four would share exhibition space in the large hall. Starting from the 2002 exhibition, in which Masato Nakamura constructed an actual house inside the gallery, the series shifted to a different approach, in which one artist would take the initiative in determining a direction and orientation of the exhibition. In 2003, all of the artists collaborated to produce works based on the concept of "touch," proposed by Nobuyuki Tanaka, and in 2004, Hajime Imamura worked with each of the other four on collaborative works.

The idea for this current relay exhibition, too, was born of an ongoing dialog among the artists. In this final exhibition of life/art, what approach will these five artists take? By all means, we welcome you to the Shiseido Gallery to have a look into their individual exhibition spaces to see what each has to express, and to enjoy the "hidden" trick of the relay exhibition that they have also prepared.

life/art '05, the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, is available. Please contact the Gallery office for details.

Exihibition Details for life/art '05

Dates: December 8 (Thu) 2005 - March 26 (Sun), 2006
Location: Shiseido Gallery (Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Bldg., B1)
Ginza 8-8-3, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel: 03-3572-3901 Fax: 03-3572-3951
Hours: Weekdays from 11:00 - 19:00
Sundays & Holidays 11:00 - 18:00
Closed on Mondays
Admission: Free

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