Tag Archives: exhibitions

Now Museum, Now You Don’t

Magritte, Chagall, et al.

Eyes for art whetted by the French masterpiece exhibition in May and June? You can get more of your fill of European paintings this month at the Menard Art Museum in Komaki.


Among artists whose works you can experience will be Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Van Gogh, Monet, Kandinsky, Magritte, and (from my experience) Japanese female favorites Miro and Chagall.


Regret, Chagrin, All In

In addition, just a regret to post – I was looking forward to this photo show at the Tajimi Culture Center, but confused the dates with those above. Guess the tiring toll of a busy week caught up with me.


Hope I have another chance to check out this local nature photographer sometime. He looks interesting.


Never Had a Chance

Update: On the subject of gone before you know it, I just learned of a cafe in Toki I must have gone by dozens of times without even knowing it was there, and now it’s gone, and been so nearly a year. From what I’ve heard, it would’ve been right at home in the blog, so I’ll cut it some belated bandwidth here, with my regrets and hopes for happier stories in the future. It went by the name of Iroha Shokudo, and was situated right beside Sun Mart supermarket between the Toki River and Route 421. They served curry and coffee, daring to bring a tad more cool to Toki. Business was too tepid to keep it going, unfortunately. Maybe someone else reading this can be inspired to carry on the gentrification journey, if you will.

Make Your Old Art Prof Happy

If you enjoy seeing art, you don’t want to miss the nice collection of three centuries of masterpieces by French artists showing at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art at Aichi Arts Center in central Nagoya until June 23.


The exhibition features 66 works spanning periods from Baroque and Rococo to Cubism, from Poussin to Picasso, all from the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. As such, it’s a good chance to review your art history knowledge from that college survey course you had to take. The significant changes in each period are outlined in Japanese, and audio guides explaining eack painting are also available in Japanese for 500 yen.


One of the highlights is a captivating Renoir portrait being shown in Japan for the first time, visible on the poster and admission ticket above. The whole show was a pleasure to see. One painting that especially brought France and French painting home was one called (translation of Japanese) “Paris at Dawn” by Luigi Loir.


Besides museums, the twelve-storey Aichi Arts Center has a performing arts theater, a library, spaces for contemplation, art shops and restaurants including a Wolfgang Puck Cafe.

Mino Ware to Get: Now You’ll Know, Too


I managed to get to the ceramic exhibition yesterday. People do come from all over (plates shown from Yamaguchi and Fukui), but it wasn’t terribly crowded.


Below, the hallmark entrance studded with ceramics in the ceiling. Kids can’t resist testing out its echo effects. One thing I just don’t understand is how they can continue to use those tacky green plastic turf walking mats that make you feel like you’re about to enter a golf clubhouse. They’re difficult to walk on anyway, tending to twist you off course due to their grain.


Below, some of the promenade area outside the cafe. It’s a wide open, accommodating space sometimes used for live events. There’s also a trail leading to an observation platform from which the sunsets are not to be missed.


Photos weren’t allowed in the exhibition itself. There were quite a few works that appealed to me. All are for sale. Many were in the 5000 to 8000 yen range. I think they’re more worth having than what you typically find at festivals elsewhere. Speaking of which, I just realized Toki’s ceramics festival is going on this weekend at the Michi No Eki on route 21 north of the city. Shuttle busses are available from Toki station.

Earth and Space

This weekend through Monday, there’s a two-person exhibition of ceramic works at Mogura Gallery at Reverie in Tajimi.


Titled Observation/Composition, the young artists it features, Tatsuma Segawa and Erica (sic) Suzuki, have nothing in particular in common as such. A joint show was just more practical for each.


Suzuki’s works, pictured in the photos above, emphasize composition, in particular use of negative space. One multi-part piece consists of a square three-dimensional “frame” in which the other parts rest.


Segawa is interested in the change that clay, earth and other materials go through in the firing process, as well as any material in any process over time, like the effect of global warming or the eventual swallowing of the Earth by the sun bilions of years in the future.


The gallery will be open each day from 11 am to 7 pm.

Growing Talent


More views of Tourin Syunyo gallery today. This was another one of those places I’d gone by and been curious about several times, but hadn’t gone into. The evocative name itself, とうりんしゅんよう, showcasing a near perfect storm of the perils and pitfalls (didn’t know language could be such a rough adventure, did you?) of romanizing hiragana, translates literally (pitfall warning) to something like “Spring Kiln Ceramics Woods” (woods as in a forest of; a bevy of). The gallery seeks to showcase a variety of developing artists, and increase awareness and appreciation of ceramics. It’s been covered in popular nationally published magazines, and people come from all over Japan to visit, I hear.


Above, more cups embodying the theme of this year’s “Ishoken plus one” exhibition, osake. Below, the square stick knobs atop these teapots caught my eye.


More pieces by fledgling firers on the second floor.



Exquisite use of small, often low-set openings between different spaces heightens your sense of perspective and context, begging exploration and a bit of envy. This view looks over toward the cafe area.


Traversing boardwalks and stepping stones through an enclosed open-air garden, you enter the cafe, where sultry jazz vocals put you at ease. It’s a very nice, relaxing atmosphere as you step into slippers, enjoy the view, and smell your drink being brewed in another room. There’s a little library, and rooms for sitting on a tatami floor enjoying Japanese tea, coffee and sweets.


This table looks out on the garden area. I had this room all to myself. With the cafe, the owners hope you can better understand the ceramic works on display by actually using them. As they say, kind of like a fitting room for the ceramic soul.


One Year On


Concurrent with the Ishoken Graduate ceramics show going on through today, an exhibition designed to highlight what last year’s Ishoken graduates have done in the succeeding year is being held at Tourin Syunyo, a gallery and cafe in Tajimi near Hakusan Shrine. An acquaintance dropped off some event info, so I dropped by to finally see some of her works for the first time, along with those of seventeen of her former classmates.


This is about the fifth year for this “first anniversary” show. It’s a chance to look at artists’ progress since their show at Ceramic Park Mino the previous February. This year’s theme is “osake.”


Besides displaying works in keeping with the theme, artists are free to show any of their work, much of which is also for sale.


The careful attention paid to architecture, space, light, shadow, texture and material at Tourin Syunyo sets the works off beautifully. You’ll get your day’s dose of wabi, sabi and modern for sure.


Anniversary works range from the ceremonial to the practical, to the whimsical to the creamsicle.


While the never-drip treats above might make good light summertime conversation pieces, these cups below look like they’d be nice to hold with a warming drink on a cold winter day like today.


There are intriguing openings and touches of nature at every turn.


Below, a little snow still fills the space between stones leading to this outdoor granite water well. This is looking in on the same scene as the photo above.


The opening party was last night, with viewing running from the 13th to the 24th, 10 am to 6 pm, closed Mondays. I’ll post more tomorrow on Tourin Syunyo, including the cafe.

Now Showing

A Shot in the Arm

Well, ain’t that a kick in the head. No sooner do I do a little cheerleading and blog about a Kickstarter fundraiser, than Kickstarter comes out with its own iPhone app (free!) the same day. The LiveCode project needed something like this.


Art in the Park

Also kicking off today is the Ishoken Graduate Exhibition. Students graduating from the Tajimi-sponsored ceramic arts school are showing their earthen theses at Ceramic Park Mino through Sunday. A hands-on ceramics lab and design course are also being offered at the facility today.


I talked to the owner of art de vivre cafe (thanks for the kumquats, Tomo!), a graduate of the program, who said the students come from, and ultimately disperse back to, all over the country, putting careers on hold for a year to concentrate on their art. I’ll try to get up to the show for some photos.

A Shot in the Dark

Finally, a sock-soaking walk in today’s cold rain netted me just this:


No, this Taita Line train hasn’t rudely run up against a defenseless traffic sign. It’s what’s underneath. This underpass beneath the JR Chuo and Taita lines, with a clearance of just 160 centimeters, was listed on the map below as a little thrillseeking spot (I’ll have more on the map in another post). Having run up against a closed “Honey’s Diner” (perhaps not so ironically, someone else I asked today recently had the same not-so-sweet experience, minus the rain, being, like a frustrated Pooh, unable to gain access to this purported Honey west of the station), this low point was now destined to be the highpoint of my walk. Though I’ve been there before, just for kicks, I ducked by to see.


My mission, should I choose to accept it: while simultaneously disentangling a complex, insidious snarl of 60′s TV spy and detective drama cliches and characters, to delve into the dark depths of the subversive passageway, track its clandestine comings and goings, assess potential sources of leaks, tease out its secrets, thwart imminent threats, and generally save the planet, being ever careful to dodge nefarious puddles and sporadic dripping train fluids.

Never a second thought. I was game.


Though the sign states a 1.6 meter limit, the actual height is higher. No need to duck. I walked under it with my umbrella overhead. And there are little side nooks to stand in if a car comes through. And yes, they do. Especially thrillseeking taxis, it seems. Beeping their horns at cold, splishing, dimly lit, umbrella-toting, thoroughly engrossed, picture-taking underpass pilgrims. I half expected Tige Andrews to come chasing after me for jaywalking. At one point I thought I was about to be cornered by an unknown agent on a stealthy new kind of Segway. You can imagine my relief when the silhouette turned out to be an obaasan pushing one of those upright personal grocery carts. Relatively unscathed, and with the security of the free world more or less assured, I eventually scampered back to the safety of Nagase Dori and a rich, hot, foamy cafe latte at art de vivre. You want thrills? I got thrills. I know of an even slimmer chute under the tracks in Toki that will keep you glued* to the edge of your seat, at least until the next Kickstarter commercial.


*Think about it.

Ancient Painting Method Reborn at Manabi Park Exhibition

Sunday afternoon I caught the end of an art exhibition at Manabi Park, the building housing the Tajimi Library. Below is one of the artists, Mariko Nakabayashi, in front of her work called 化石の宇宙 ( loosely translated as Fossil Universe).

The piece below represents a womb-like world where assorted creatures frolic playfully. The natural world plays a large part in Mariko’s works.

Both pieces use the challenging technique known as encaustic, which uses wax as the medium for pigments. Encaustic goes back to ancient Egypt, with paintings surviving remarkably well. Mariko is enjoying the sense of discovery and the trailblazing challenge of working in a new medium, and we look forward to more works as she finds her way. The exhibition is over, but I’ll keep you posted on future chances to see works by the artists involved. All are graduates of the same arts high school in Tajimi.