I like talking with gallerists to know about art works or the artist’s background. It shows a different part of the work and makes it more enjoyable. Gallerists are the biggest fan of the artists and their words are strong and persuasive.
On the other hand, when you are not familiar with the gallerist, sometimes it is intimidating to talk with them because of the sophisticated atmosphere or your knowledge with art is near to none (so did I), or they may be busy to have a time to talk with you.
As I thought everyone should have a chance to hear “gallerist’s words” more easily even if you know nothing about art history, decided to put them directly on Azito’s website. I am sure you will enjoy it and feel art deeply connected with you more than ever.
For our first step, we did gallerist interviews to show what kind of people they are. How they got interested in art and why they started a gallery, etc…
Here is the first interview with Yuko Yamamoto from Yamamoto Gendai.
From my point of view, she shows works which look a little scary at a first glance but contains a little funny aspect as you see longer. Exhibition images she showed at the gallery are included in the interview so please check:)
Nara’s new exhibition at Yokohama museum is attracting more than 10,000 people just in one week after its opening. I visited this exhibition on the day of its press conference and would like to share some impressive stories that I heard there.
-Exhibition is traveling not only inside of Japan (Aomori, Kumamoto) but around Asia (Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, Brisbane). Not interested in showing in the Western countries this time since he had done a lot before, moreover, he was happy to know that there were many young Asian artists following him and he wanted to show his work for them.
-The 311 earthquake shocked him as he could not draw a painting for a while. Art looked powerless in front of the disaster but at the same time, he believed as the situation gets better, art must be needed for the people.
-While he could not draw a painting he felt a sense of discomfort of holding a brush. He felt a distance between the canvas. So he started to created a bronze statue for the first time in his life. In the process, he used his own hand molding clay and it made him feel more directly communicating with the work.
-For the title of the exhibition, the subject of the sentence is “artwork” (“Artwork is a bit like you and me.”). As he is alive now, he can get the reaction toward his work. Although, it won’t be possible after he is dead. Art is going to exist by itself and he is not there any more. This thought is included in the title.
Overall the conference, Nara was answering to every question politely and gently. The atmosphere was warm and quite similar to the one I feel when I am in front of his painting. I could feel how seriously and sincerely he was working for this exhibition and there is an invisible conflict inside of this internationally successful artist.
As the exhibition title says, his painting reminds me of my two daughters especially the little one who is around 1 year old. Soft coloration, strong eyes, multiply-colored skin tone, its atmosphere is just the same. As I walk through the exhibition, I was wondering the reason. Why is that so similar? It may be because not only the surface of a child but the power of a child, the primitive power of a human being might be condensed in his work.
Official website : Yoshitomo Nara “a bit like you and me” at Yokohama Museum
To know more about how Nara has recovered and started to work again, check this interview with Nara done by Edan, Japan Times.
Yoshitomo Nara puts the heart back in art
For the one who may not be able to visit this exhibition, check the blog post by FUKUHEN below. Although it is only in Japanese, you can enjoy the photos of the exhibition.
“There is no art market in Japan.” This is continuously said since I came into the art industry in 2005, or it might have been said since the bubble burst in 1990.
However, it does not mean that the art market players have done nothing to lift up the art industry. There are many art lovers in Japan in fact and artists, gallerists, curators have been working hard to change this situation. Art fairs which is a place to sell/buy art works mainly, have the important role too.
So I decided to go out and ask the art fair organizers about how they are trying to boost this situation and whether there are any good news to hear.
Through having an interview with them, it was interesting to find out that three of them said similar things in common.
1. Japanese contemporary should be supported (bought) by Japanese collectors more than ever.
Not just only seeking for the mega western collectors/organizations to purchase, we should reach the middle class Japanese people to show how we value our own culture by ourselves.
2. Art industry people should collaborate with other industries, and not being closed.
Still, it is too closed. Few people out of the art industry know about art. It is simply because we (art industry people) have not communicated with others intentionally from us.
From my point of view, this is not the problem happening only in Japan but many of other countries are facing the same. You can see what I mean by interpreting the sentence as below.
1. Create the vast numbers of middle class collectors.
2. Open the art industry.
In fact, there are many art business (20x200, artspace, (s)edition) which has started recently to change this situation in the US where the biggest art market exists already. They think the US art market hasn’t reached the middle class yet.
Open the art to middle class collectors will change the art world dynamically. It will create a “democratic art world”, I believe. Easy to say but tough to be done. This is the most difficult part to be solved.
Anyway, hope you will enjoy the interviews;)
Here is the new post on Azito of the exhibition “Turning around” which was held in Tokyo. Artworks dealing with political issues were getting together. These directly political art is rarely seen in Japan.
Among the all, actually I was really moved by the artist, JR from France. I knew his name and he is one of the street artists but did not know that he actually did these great projects. Seeing the whole presentation he did at TED (winning the prize of 2011!) three times, I especially love the two episodes below,
—In Israel, he put the pictures of the faces of the Israel people and the palestian people next together in a large print. He asked the local people whether they can find who is from Israel and who is from Palestine, but nobody could answer…
Very simply but very strongly showing people are not different as we think… Through his photos, I also felt his deep love toward the human being. Every face is shining and showing their pride to be what they are.
—In India, it is prohibited to post people’s face on a wall, so JR put white papers which are actually painted with glue, but look like just simple white papers in the beginning. The streets in India are dusty and after a while later, faces appeared on the white papers.
How smart he is! This cannot be done without a large enthusiasm toward art and the will to realize the project. I respect him since he holds the respectful thoughts toward people and is actively moving around the world with his foot.
He is a man with a big heart…
Here is the whole video…
Rethinking about what is needed in today’s art world and what Azito should do, I revised the “About Us” page on our website.
Thanks to internet, artworks got many chances to get much more exposure. But I feel something is missing… People are not connected with the deeper part of the artwork and there are few chances to do so. I want to change this situation to make art’s existence better in our society. These are the 3 points we want to provide.
1. You can know the work’s background deeply.
Knowing the work visually is the first step. We want you to feel much more connected with the artwork and the artists behind them through our website. Since we have a strong partnership with the galleries who manage and know the artists in person, we can provide rich information about the artists, not only about their biography but also their personality, thoughts and the background of their artwork. This is essential to enjoy art.
2. You can support artists’ ideas by purchasing the work.
When you purchase an artwork through Azito, it means that you are supporting the artist since your money will also go to the artist through our partner galleries. Our transactions are different from purchases in the secondary market, where deals occur only between the buyer and seller. If you purchase an artist’s artwork, it means that you like their work, but you are also praising and endorsing their ideas and philosophy. And showing your appreciation through owning an artist’s work is a commendable way to support the artist.
3. You can become a leading collector in your neighbor.
Viewing an artwork physically is the best experience. There is no doubt about it. But in fact, not everyone has the chance to view Japanese contemporary artwork in their nearest museum. When you become a collector of a specific artist, please show his/her artwork to your friends and families and increase interest in your area. It might help the artist hold an exhibition in your city in the future. As art knows no boundaries, we ship all over the world with a simple click. In fact, our audience is 30% from Europe, 25% from the US, 25% from Asia, 15% from Japan, 5% from Australia. Our customers range from collectors in Dresden to Alaska.
From the 21-st century, not the mega rich collectors or museums will be the only influential players in the art world but the numbers of middle class collectors who decide what to buy by themselves with their own sense will move more fluidly and change the art world, I believe. And I want to help those people to meet inspiring artworks.