Kyobashi Shows

Kyobashi is an area of Tokyo with many small galleries concentrated in a few blocks and is also close to Ginza, another area filled with small galleries. I had never explored the area before but I went to see Keiko Moriuchi’s group show of Gutai art at Hatonomori Art in the Kyoei Bldg and discovered several noteworthy shows nearby.

One current show that is worth checking out is the Dessins show at the Zeit-Foto Salon in the same block. Dessins is the French word that is used in Japanese to mean drawing as a piece of artwork. I never would have suspected that a gallery with a variation of the word “photo” in its name would host a show of drawings, never mind such a high quality show. Many of these artists are popular among collectors in Tokyo.

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On my way to Ginza down the backstreets I stumbled upon this little gem at Gallery Hinoki B-C, which has a beautiful space on the second floor of another nondescript building. Toshiro Yamaguchi took a very simple idea and made some beautiful pieces of artwork. Although he is not a printmaker, his ideas are similar to wiping plates when you make etchings. He covered a board with cellophane tape and then painted black paint instead of ink on top. (I assume it was oil paint.) He then wiped off as much paint as possible. The act of wiping pushes the paint into the crevices along the edges of the tape and creates a grey plate tone. Sometimes he covered all of that with more tape and then repeated the process with another colour, similar to what would be done with a two-colour print.  He purposefully made his pieces the size of fusuma, sliding doors, although most galleries in Japan prefer smaller pieces. He thought Japanese people were at ease with that shape since that shape had unconsciously been registered or implanted in their brains since they were born.

Both shows were pleasant surprises on a rainy day.

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