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Indepth Arts News:

"Big in Japan: Takahiro Fujiwara, Matsukage Hiroyuki, Yuki Kimura, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Risa Sato and Saki Satom"
2001-10-13 until 2001-11-18
Cambridge Galleries
Cambridge, ON, CA Canada

Cambridge Galleries presents Big In Japan, an exhibition of six contemporary Japanese artists born in the late-60s and early-70s, who are now reaching international attention. Big In Japan has been curated by Catherine Osborne who spent eight weeks in Japan last winter on a fellowship granted by the Japan Foundation.

Japanese adult culture is avidly unadult, Osborne writes. It is stuck on a continual quest for instant gratification and blatant adorableness. It's not fixated on youth, like us, it's fixated on childhood.

Risa Sato's Campaign No. 8 (1999) comments on the adult desire for innocence with a multi-component sculpture that includes six functioning tricycles with sperm-like heads. Similarly, Takahiro Fujiwara's Beans-BALLOONs (1999) speak of another kind of desire for regression. His Beans-BALLOONs are two enormous pink and blue plastic inflatable jellybeans that you can crawl inside.

The experience of consumer culture figures in the work of Osaka-based photographer Yuki Kimura, whose Tobacco #3, Enemies Big & Small (1999) is a billboard-size image of the back of a girl's head and two packs of Lucky Strike, a popular brand of American cigarettes.

Hiroyuki Matsukage's Star (2000) is a super-karaoke installation that triggers immediate adulation from an ecstatic audience the moment a viewer sings into the mic. The ego gratification of Star is contrasted with the anonymity of video artist Saki Satom's work. Her 3-minute video loops draw our attention to the lack of individuality within a city teeming with office workers and department store shoppers. In her videos, you barely notice her performance interventions taking place at train stations during rush hour.

Artist Tsuyoshi Ozawa's Ai Ai Gallery (1994-ongoing) is a portable gallery worn as a backpack. The small scale of this work comments on instant gratification and the proportional relevance of art in today's culture. To see Ai Ai Gallery, viewers must call the backpack-wearing dealer by phone to arrange a private viewing and meeting point.

Big and Japan provocatively satirizes consumer culture, urban living, instant gratification, speed, crowds, shopping, sex, desire, fame, anonymity, and excess -- all conditions that are rampant in a metropolis like Tokyo, one of the richest, most densely populated cities in the world.

Fujiwara Takahiro

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