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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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A Thousand Wonders of Japanese Technology: A brief 150 year history of Japanese modernization
30 October 2018 - 3 March 2019
National Museum of Nature and Science
(Tokyo)
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As the Heisei Era comes to a close, this show celebrates the science and technology that began to transform Japan with the advent of the Meiji Era 150 years ago. Over 600 items representing the country's legacy in such fields as chemistry, machinery, and information processing technology, including a number of Important Cultural Properties, are supplemented by documents and photographs chronicling episodes of invention and discovery by Japanese scientists and engineers.

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Yuji Ono: Vice Versa - Les Tableaux
12 December 2018 - 2 February 2019
ShugoArts
(Tokyo)
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Ono shot these photographs of paintings in museums straight on with a large-format camera in natural light obtained by opening the gallery windows. The light directly striking the surface of each painting renders the image painted there nearly invisible, while the canvas itself, the layers of paint on it, and the surrounding frame come into sharp focus instead. One can barely discern the indistinct shape of the image the artist painted there -- a visual experience that is quite fascinating.

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Did You See Mon amour violet et autres?: Yasumasu Morimura's Alternative View of the 1980s

3 November 2018 - 27 January 2019

Morimura@Museum
(Osaka)
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This was the inaugural show at artist Morimura's new museum, located in Osaka's Kitakagaya district, a former shipbuilding center. In recent years artists of various media have discovered the large spaces of the old shipyards and warehouses, converting them into exhibition and performance venues and making the neighborhood an up-and-coming art mecca. Morimura has renovated a 40-year-old furniture showroom here, transforming it into an art museum with 400 square meters of floor space.

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Yoshimura Yoshio: Beyond Hyper-realism

23 November 2018 - 20 January 2019

Tokyo Station Gallery
(Tokyo)

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This was the first Tokyo retrospective by Yamaguchi-born artist Yoshimura (1950-2013), a late bloomer who first earned recognition at 57 and died only six years later. The 600-plus works ranged from early monotone prints and drawings, to later paintings of colorful flowers, to the self-portraits he drew throughout his life. Yoshimura took the concept of photorealism to an extreme, copying photographs in pen or pencil so painstakingly that the distinction between picture and photo begins to blur.

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New Wave: Japanese Contemporary Art of the 1980s
3 November 2018 - 20 January 2019
The National Museum of Art, Osaka
(Osaka)
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What was Japan like in the 1980s? By bringing together representative artworks of the decade, this show attempted to illustrate what Japanese people were thinking, how they entertained themselves, and how they viewed society during those years. The 100 works by 65 artists are indeed redolent of the period and collectively dispatch a vibrant message about the eighties to viewers today.
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Haruka Misawa - Again and Again: Ideas Coming To Mind

3 December 2018 - 26 January 2019

ginza graphic gallery
(Tokyo)
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Misawa has frequently stunned the world with her innovations in design. Her flexibility and versatility serve her well in an era when graphic designers find their talents in demand for every form of social and business activity. This exhibition offered a comprehensive look at the past accomplishments of her Misawa Design Institute, her current projects, and her future plans.
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Travels with Glasses: Exploring Visual Culture
23 November 2018 - 27 January 2019
Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art
(Shizuoka)
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Megane (glasses) was the keyword for this exhibition, which examined how people have manipulated or enhanced the sense of sight in the modern era. Starting with the Edo-era megane-e (optique pictures) that used a convex lens and perspective drawing techniques to produce 3D views, and moving on to inventions like the railroad, airplane, microscope and telescope that made the macro and micro worlds visible for the first time, the show brought us up to date with virtual-reality technology and contemporary art that utilizes visual tricks.
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Motoyuki Daifu: "untitled (surround)"
2 December 2018 - 20 January 2019
Misako & Rosen
(Tokyo)
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The centerpiece of this solo show was a series of photographs of Daifu's family neighborhood in the Yokohama suburbs. The images share a unified tone and a casual compositional style like his earlier portrayals of home interiors and still lifes. However, these new works also exude an off-kilter aura that stems from the skewed uniformity, and the commonplace character of the resulting details, in the contemporary Japanese suburban architecture that is his subject.
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Tomoko Sawada: Kageboshi
1 - 28 December 2018
MEM
(Tokyo)
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Photographer Sawada's latest work is a video piece titled Kageboshi, meaning shadow or silhouette. Running for 4 minutes 31 seconds in a loop, it begins with the appearance of an indistinct human shadow on a white surface with the rough texture of washi paper. After a bit, the shadow gradually fades away, to be followed by several more such phantoms appearing and disappearing in succession. It's an elegantly simple concept that stimulates the viewer's imagination in somewhat unnerving fashion.
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Kiyotaka Tsurisaki: Days of the Dead
14 - 26 December 2018

Shinjuku Ophthalmologist (Ganka) Gallery
(Tokyo)

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Since 1994 Tsurisaki has been photographing the dead in places like Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, Russia, and Palestine, as well as Japan. The corpses appear in diverse circumstances -- suicide, murder, traffic accidents, mortuaries, forensic labs. Tsurisaki views them all with a cool, objective eye, keeping aesthetic or emotional gestures to a minimum. This show, held in tandem with the publication of his photo collection The Dead, offered a selection of 20 prints from the 180 in the book.
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