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Picks :
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Picks is a monthly sampling of Japan's art scene, offering commentary by a variety of reviewers about exhibitions at museums and galleries in recent weeks, with an emphasis on contemporary art by young artists.

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Masaru Kurose Solo Show
6 - 17 June 2017
galerie 16
(Kyoto)
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Though a painting goes through many changes before it's finished, we viewers only get to see the final result, and have no idea what went into it. Kurose, however, sees the changes undergone by an artwork in progress as no less fascinating than the finished product, and attempts to make that process visible. Implicit in his approach is the notion that the painting we see is no more than one of an infinite number of possible outcomes.
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Toshio Shibata: Bridge
9 June - 10 July 2017
Yoshiaki Inoue Gallery
(Osaka)
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Shibata is known for his rigorously composed photographs of landscapes in which the natural and the artificial coexist -- dams across mountain gorges, cutaway hillsides, and the like. This show marked the Kansai-region debut of a color series he shot in response to a request by the Belgian architect Laurent Ney to film a bridge he had designed. They are memorable images, in which the geometric composition of the bridge epitomizes both beauty and function.
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The Insight of Kenjiro Okazaki: Abstract Art as Impact - How Abstract Arts Can Become Concrete Tools

22 April - 11 June 2017
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
(Aichi)
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A theoretician with a scholar's encyclopedic knowledge of art and cultural history, visual artist Okazaki (b. 1955) brings his curatorial skills to an exhibition of work culled from the museum's collection. The result is a boldly creative rediscovery and reevaluation of Japanese abstractionism between the two world wars, in which Okazaki demonstrates the inherent avant-garde potential of abstract art from that era.
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Katsura Funakoshi: New Prints 2017
10 June - 2 July 2017
Gallery Shirakawa
(Kyoto)
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Wood sculptor Funakoshi began making prints to accommodate a request from an American publisher in 1989, and has presented new works every three or four years since then. Here he introduced six new mezzotints in addition to prints from the gallery's collection, for a total of 22 pieces. Funakoshi says the sensation of mezzotint engraving resembles that of carving wood, so he seems likely to continue exploring that medium.
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Madsaki: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
19 May - 15 June 2017
Kaikai Kiki Gallery
(Tokyo)
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A solo exhibition by an artist based in both Tokyo and New York. In these 21 works, mostly graffiti-spray-painted tableaux, the primary motif is the artist's wife, posed nude or partially nude in a colorful yukata against a Show-retro background. These are unique paintings that emit a curious eroticism. Madsaki does a brilliant job of maintaining an equilibrium between the violence of his graffiti and the precision of his tableaux.
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shiseido art egg 11: Shiho Yoshida
2 - 25 June 2017
Shiseido Gallery
(Tokyo)
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One of three artists selected for the 11th installment of Shiseido's annual presentation of promising newcomers, Yoshida begins her photographic process by searching the Internet for maps and aerial views of a likely location, then travels to the actual spot and starts shooting. Her final output consists of a "blend of idealized image and actual place" produced by combining her photos with the visual data she collected beforehand.
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Keiko Sasaoka: Park City
6 - 24 June 2017
The Third Gallery Aya
(Osaka)
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Since 2001 Sasaoka has been photographing the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and environs in her hometown with a 6 x 6 format camera. A slide show projected on the gallery wall included not only those works but also snapshots taken as preliminary studies and childhood photos of the artist and her friends. Together, they added up to a powerful evocation of the multilayered relationship between Hiroshima and Sasaoka herself.
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Akira Otsubo and Koji Shiraya: Memories and Records
18 June - 15 July 2017
Galerie Ashiya Schule
(Hyogo)
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A joint show by contemporary artist and photographer Otsubo and ceramic artist Shiraya. Through disparate media, they displayed complementary approaches to the titular theme: conjuring up the invisible memories that dwell in places, and rendering visible the tactile traces left by physical substances.
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Standing Point I: Yoko Terauchi

15 May - 30 June 2017

Keio University Art Center
(Tokyo)
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The inaugural exhibition of KUAC's new Standing Point series on contemporary artists with a "particular standpoint" features Yoko Terauchi, who was active as a sculptor in London during the 1980s and 90s. Her interest has always been opposites like front and back, exterior and interior, part and whole, which she sometimes inverts, sometimes renders equivalent. She continues to create conceptual works based on geometric and logical ideas reminiscent of the New British Sculpture of the 1980s.
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Process of the Sea - Words' Atlas
9 - 18 June 2017
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum Gallery B
(Tokyo)
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Hideo Nakane and Seiji Hirata formed the exhibition planning unit Aesthetic Life in 2009 as a means of contemplating the aesthetics of daily life. For this, their third project, they invited Junko Ikawa and Naoyo Fukuda to join them as "Aesthetic Life+" to draw a map or atlas of the "realm of words." Particularly moving was Fukuda's End Credits, which suggests that to write text is to live on. Perhaps the same can be said of drawing pictures.
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