Posts Tagged ‘sculpture’

Pulsations (6.29.12)

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

  • Why raising the consumption tax is a good idea, and good politics (from Mutant Frog): A must-read for anyone who wants to engage in the debate. Blogger Adam Richards offers a reasoned argument on why raising the consumption tax is good fiscal policy as well as a wise political move. The debate in the comments is smart, too.
  • Fujimori’s new “Trojan Pig” tea house (from Spoon & Tomago): Japanese architect extraordinaire Terunobu Fujimori is famous for designing striking and unique tea houses. His latest creation, which has been likened to a “trojan pig,” does not disappoint. But why a pig?
  • Sculpture or photography? (from Art It): We all know photographs can freeze a moment in time, but have you ever considered sculpture as a medium for doing so? Artist Rirkrit Tiravanija has. Read about how he started creating these full-size scenes, his ideas, inspiration, and latest solo exhibition at Gallery Side 2 in Tokyo.
  • Japanese photo exhibit on Korean “comfort women” sabotaged (from Global Voices): During World War II, the Japanese military forced tens of thousands of foreign women into sex slavery for soldiers overseas. Known as “comfort women” these victims were made to endure horrible atrocities. Ahn Se-Hong, a South Korean photographer who documented the now aging women, has faced numerous obstacles leading up to and during his Tokyo exhibition.
  • Green-roofs in Saitama Prefecture (from Japan for Sustainability): No, those aren’t weeds you see growing on the roof of your local konbini. Well, they might be, unless you live in Saitama Prefecture. The region has introduced a green-roof project for local convenience stores, which can help off-set carbon emissions.

A time-lapse video of Toyota engineers customizing their new, family-oriented concept car, the Camatte.

Taro Okamoto towers above 2011

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Taro Okamoto's struggle to complete the "Tower of the Sun" is the subject of a new NHK drama.

Last year was samurai Ryoma Sakamoto’s year, as a huge surge of interest, largely generated by an NHK dramatization of his life, lead to countless product tie-ins. This year the dead celebrity du jour looks set to be artist Taro Okamoto, who will also be getting his own NHK show in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. A slew of exhibitions are also sure to revive the public’s interest in this iconoclastic painter and sculptor.

The NHK drama is titled “Taro’s Tower,” in reference to “Tower of the Sun,” which Okamoto created for Expo ’70 in Suita, Osaka. The first episode, which aired on Feb. 26, focused on the period between 1967 and 1970 when Okamoto battled to complete the tower in time for the World’s Fair. The structure is one of his most iconic works, and though it’s rather weather-worn, it still stands in the Expo Commemoration Park in Suita, Osaka.

Inside the “Tower of the Sun” there used to be a structure called “Tree of Life,” which represented the strength of life heading toward the future. Staircases winding round the inside of the “Tower of the Sun” allowed you to view it up close. Since “The Tree of Life” no longer exists the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum has commissioned a 1:20 scale model of the art work. Standing just 2.5m tall, the replica, made by model shop Kaiyodo, allows visitors to see details that you couldn’t with the 50-meter original.

Other museums are also holding special events in memory of Okamoto. The National Museum of Modern Art will be holding a 100th anniversary exhibition, which kicked off March 8. The show’s theme — confrontation — references the fact that Okamoto challenged the values of traditional Japanese society. About 130 works, including paintings, sculptures, photographs and design, will be on display.

At Taro Okamoto Museum of Art in Kawasaki, an exhibition titled “100 years old Admirable Taro” will run until April 3. The curators have chosen 27 items from their collection of 818 works. Of particular note is a primitive shrine that Okamoto crafted out of traditional materials in celebration of folk art.

Though the art world is buzzing with Okamoto-related exhibitions, the craze for the artist hasn’t yet shown signs of reaching the same dizzy heights of last year’s Sakamoto boom. As yet we haven’t found any anniversary tie-in products, we did stumble upon these rather groovy Okamoto Children’s Day koinobori (carp kites), which were on sale as limited editions last year. Let’s hope they re-release them in time for this year’s Children’s Day.

“Tower of the Sun” photo by Ryan McBride [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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