Creative collaboration is in the DNA of Hikarie 8/ – the “Shibuya style” marketplace that has become a meeting point for fans of art and design in Tokyo. Located on the 8th floor of the Shibuya Hikarie building, the panorama windows offer a great viewing spot overlooking the 3 million people who pass through busy Shibuya Station every day. It is also the perfect place to see “Water Abstracts” – an exhibition of photographic artworks by German artist Silvia Sinha. In painterly images, Silvia captures the light and flow of Berlin, which similar to Tokyo is full of energy and vitality. By depicting a city reflected in rippling bodies of water, Sinha conveys a sense of tranquility as well as the fleeting nature of the urban landscape. “Water Abstracts” – Silvia Sinha runs through Sunday, November 22nd.
Just as the Paris Photo Show opens its doors to international artists next week, Project Art Lounge is pleased to present the works of European photographer Silvia Sinha at one of Tokyo’s most innovative art and design spaces. Following an invitation-only preview earlier this year, “Water Abstracts” by Berlin based Silvia Sinha will be on display from November 19-22, 2015 at Hikarie 8 / Creative Lounge across from the busy Shibuya station.
Like Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Seascapes, Silvia Sinha takes us on a “voyage of seeing” in her series “Water Abstracts”. In photographs which the artist likens to “painting on the water’s surface” Sinha captures the ever changing light and flow (光と流) of the urban landscape.
Silvia Sinha’s recent works were featured in the European Month of Photography in 2014 in Berlin and at international exhibitions in Basel, Switzerland and Tokyo.
ベルリン拠点の写真家、Silvia Sinhaによる「Water Abstracts」シリーズでは、杉本博司の 海景と同じように、我々を「眺めの旅」に誘います。今回、Project Art Loungeが紹介する展示はSinhaの捉えた、常に変わり続ける都市風景の「光と流」というテーマです。 アーティスト自身が写真を「水面上に描くペインティング」のように捉え、都市風景をシンボルとして、陸封メトロポリスの活気を表す作品です。
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Project Art Lounge (www.projectartlounge.com)
Looking out at the New York City skyline from atop the new Whitney Museum I was reflecting on the ambiguous title of the new Whitney’s inaugural art exhibition: “America is Hard to See”. In referencing Robert Frost’s ode to the unintended consequences of discovering America, I thought of my own discovery tour of the Japanese art world. Whitney curators appeal to the difficulty of charting the course of American art, and perhaps of the American identity itself. Art is not only a portal to the identities of the artist, but also an opportunity to escape the limitations of one’s own narrow perspectives and discover new possibilities.
Transcending borders is what expats do for a living, so it was fitting that Project Art Lounge invited members of the expat organization InterNations to visit 3331 Arts Chiyoda Center in Tokyo. In a converted high school building near the manga and electronics mecca of Akihabara, artist Masato Nakamura has created a space to bring together contemporary artists and the local community. Rather than the sleek facade of many new contemporary art spaces, this revitalization of an existing public gathering spot is a unique pairing between old and new traditions of Japan. Like the traditional call and response ritual symbolized in the 3331 name, a single stroke of ingenuity enables artists and galleries to show off their hard work and achievement.
3331 Chiyoda Arts hosts more than 10 contemporary art galleries along side co-working spaces and creative agencies such as the Huffington Post and Softbank’s robotics lab featuring Pepper. Through an artists in residence program, international artists add global perspective to an otherwise very local environment which also plays host to community flee markets and knitting clubs. An interesting gift shop and Japan’s only Lomography Gallery Store can be found in the center’s lobby.
During the InterNations visit, Tama Art University’s AKIBATAMABI21 gallery gave a sneak preview of their new graduate curated show. The Kyoto Design Lab showed of innovations in 3D-Printing and architectural innovation. KIDO Press presented the emotive manga-esque prints of Bangkok artist Wisut Ponnimit, while Bambinart Gallery showed an enigmatic paintings solo show by Shinobu Hanazawa. In Gallery Jin, visitors learned the difference between the words “kawaii” (cute) and “chow” (scary) in an freakishly intriguing installation by Yuriko Sasaoka. The art space Island Medium presented an simple but poignant installation from Akira Fujimoto’s “New Recycle” series, which was also featured along side Yang02’s work at the Art Fair Tokyo. The Able Art Gallery showed a number of interesting works produced by artists with disabilities.
The exhibition that drew the biggest response from the expat visitors, though, was probably the exhibition of #Hogalee at Gallery Out of Place Tokyo. The artist was on hand with gallery director Kazushige Suzuki and assistant Emily, who guided the group of expats on a tour of the center.
In the show “n-th derivatives”, artist Hogalee quotes a work by Cindy Sherman before superscribing himself with photographs of his own version of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96 taken at spots around Tokyo like a traveling gnome. By further expanding the idea of derivatives, Hogalee invites visitors to take pictures of his work and post them on social media with the hashtag #hogalee. Hogalee then re-appropriates the images on Hogalee’s instagram account, displaying the resulting posts in the gallery in a manner similar to the Instagram series presented by artist Richard Prince.
After a fascinating tour, the expats of InterNations had plenty to talk about over food and drinks in the center’s 3331 food lab. As exhibitions change almost monthly (including an impressive exhibition of Jasper Johns prints at KIDO Press), 3331 Arts Chiyoda center is definitely worth a return visit. The exhibition schedule can be found on their website: http://www.3331.jp/schedule/en/.
Thank you to everyone who visited the exhibition “Water Abstracts – Photographs by Silvia Sinha” presented by Project Art Lounge in Tokyo. In case you missed it, here’s a look back at the event.
Visitors to the Project Art Lounge exhibition of Water Abstracts – Photographs by Silvia Sinha also got a sneak preview of her new series entitled “Brandmauern” or Firewalls. Like her water photographs, these are images of change and transformation. By capturing the rough and sometimes colorful exteriors of exposed sustaining walls – occasionally outlining a once neighboring building – Sinha not only demonstrates her painterly eye for detail, she also documents the ebb and flow of the city. As Berlin continues to transform and evolve, these urban vistas will also change and many will even disappear. Their lasting image, however, is thoughtfully preserved with Silvia Sinha’s photographs.
Silvia Sinha’s Brandmauern series was featured in the 6th European Month of Photography exhibition at Carpentier Galerie in Berlin. Silvia spoke about her new works at an exhibition in the the offices of Representative Dilek Kolat, legislator in Berlin. They will also be the subject of a museum show at Museum St. Wendel from September 13 – November 1, 2015 in Saarland.
A number of her “Firewalls” photographs can be viewed in the Firewalls album on her Facebook artist page.
Thank you to everyone who visited the “Water Abstracts” exhibition featuring photographs by Berlin artist Silvia Sinha. For another look at the artworks on exhibit, click here. Please contact Project Art Lounge below if you have any questions about Silvia Sinha, are interested in adding Silvia’s work to your collection or simply want to be added to our newsletter.
“Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.”
In the exhibition Water Abstracts, Silvia Sinha takes us on her own “voyage of seeing.” In this second exhibition of Silvia Sinha’s works presented by Project Art Lounge, the artist explores not the seaside, but the concrete jungle of Berlin. While Sugimoto contemplates the co-existence of water and air as the source of life, Silvia’s photographs reflect upon the other elements of light and flow – 光と流 – hikari to nagare. In the middle of a big city, she studies how water gives life to the urban landscape by capturing the fleeting contours of the cityscape as they are reflected on the water’s surface.
In thriving metropoles like Berlin and Tokyo, it can be difficult to find the calm places and moments of reflection that are embodied in Sugimoto’s seascapes. Silvia Sinha’s photographs remind us that the flow of life – both tranquil and dynamic – are in front of us every day. Her work is not the result of a snapshot or a chance encounter. Instead, like the work of other artists, her’s is the result of long periods of observation and introspection. In Silvia’s own words, her artwork “arises out of a very contemplative process that requires a high level of attention and a lot of time. Seeing and composing on the spot is from the perspective of the visual arts an important basis of my work.”
In her series Water Abstracts, Silvia Sinha continues to build her portfolio of abstract photographs, which were also presented by Project Art Lounge in the exhibition LIGHT BREAKS in Basel, Switzerland. Like her series about “Firewalls” in Berlin, Water Abstracts symbolizes the ever changing flow of the urban landscape. Her photographs are presented as a canvas that is neither literal nor without meaning. Silvia Sinha: “What I see is a painting on the water’s surface – one of vivid shapes and colors – which gains in abstraction through my deliberate focus, while it’s subject develops an entirely new vitality.”
The ultimate collector’s dream is not only to have a one-of-a-kind collection, but also to collect one of everything – a comprehensive compilation of everything the collector’s heart desires. Taken to an extreme, however, collecting for the sake of collecting can quickly turn into a nightmare. Such was the case at the 55th Venice Biennale entitled “The Encyclopedic Palace.” With an ambitious title borrowed from the work of artist Maurini Auriti, the 2013 edition of “the” Biennale alluded to Auriti’s dream “to hold all the works of man in whatever field, discoveries made and those which may follow.” In the end, it seemed like Auriti was trying a little too hard. After an inspiring collection of country pavilions, the overwhelming and disparate selection of art and artifacts in the main hall was a disappointment. Akin to the “uncertainty and collective acts” shared by artist Koki Tanaka at the Japan pavilion, the Biennale itself was an endless loop of memories and routines with few moments of inspiration or hope.
So why this belated critique of the 2013 Venice Biennale? The answer can be found in Yokohama. After a disillusioning experience in Venice, I became skeptical about the repetitive and exaggerated nature of biennials, triennials and the like. Thankfully, the Yokohama Trienniale has re-awakened me to the dream of a fresh and well curated collection. To begin with, artistic director Yasumasa Morimura does away with the idea of an “all encompassing” collection. He reminds us that the ability to let go and forget (discard) is a conscious choice, whether it regards the thoughtful editing of a curator or our own individual acts of dismissal of memories and routines. To drive this idea home, Morimura invited British artist Michael Landy and his 7 meter tall “Art Bin” into the center of the main hall of the Yokohama Art Museum in which artists and visitors could discard of artworks thereby sending them off into a “see of oblivion.”
The natural and easy flow from one section of the Triennale to the next is perhaps as quintessential as any experience in Japan which appears effortless on the surface but is actually the result of detailed preparation and hard work, with little left to chance. From “Unmonumental Monuments” and “Listening to Silence and Whispers” to “Laboring in Solitude” and “A drifting Journey,” the Yokohama Triennale is quietly provocative. The section entitled “Fahrenheit 451” presents New York artist Taryn Simon’s piece “Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII” including works censored by Chinese authorities last year. Still, some may criticize the Yokohama exhibition as being “too clean” or Morimura for “playing it safe”. What it lacks in drama, however, the Triennale makes up for in a compelling and well developed narrative, which is easily accessible in wall texts, a mobile app and the official guide book. Compared to Venice – the professional level of english language “outline” at the Yokohama Triennale is unrivaled, and that’s no easy accomplishment in an otherwise language-challenged Japan.
There’s no question that the contemporary art world is much more diverse (and controversial) than the well-curated exhibition in Yokohama. That being said, there’s much to enjoy about an exhibition which doesn’t prompt the question “Is that Art,” but is – to borrow the words of Mark Twain – “like a good story well told.” It’s like waking from a dream that you won’t want to forget. Last chance to see it: the Yokohama Triennale runs through Monday, November 3rd.
Unlike the “uncertainty and collective acts” shared by artist Koki Tanaka out of at the Japan pavilion, the encyclopedic palace felt disconnected