Art / Design, England, Japan

Bank-note Incredible

Friends of mine at London’s ICN Gallery told me about this artist some time last year and I have been eagerly anticipating her arrival ever since. I hurried out briefly today, while Atsuko was distracted, to check it out before I lost the chance. Like Fukahori Riusuke, this is one of those unbelievable Japanese artists that make me so happy that I stumbled on the ICN Gallery.

I saw the work with my own eyes and met the artist today but I still can’t quite understand how she does this. Saya Irie ‘simply’ erases imagery from banknotes, with a typical school eraser, then blends the rubber-dust with a type of glue and reforms them into a 3D sculpture of the object or person they once were.

Elizabeth Fry, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith and others all appear out from the two-dimensional surface in minute, precise detail despite standing just millimetres tall. It’s astounding. And it really makes you take a second look at the bank-notes we use on a daily basis but never stop to appreciate their incredible beauty. “Every popular thing is beautiful” is open until August 10th; try to catch it if you can…

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Art / Design, England

Geese + Vessel Collision

At the opening party a couple of weeks ago, Keiko Masumoto explained to me a little of the concept behind her work. Vessels typically have a functional purpose, but there are those that are purely decorative objects, and there is really no need for these to be useful at all. Masumoto-san uses traditional ceramic techniques to make not functional pottery items, but artworks that seem to be an imaginative collision of pots and, in this case, geese.

It’s actually her second show here but the thing I love about this new exhibition at the ICN Gallery, is that the acrylic plinths give the flock of geese / vessels a real feeling of motion and lift. Taking photographs this afternoon in the gallery was really relaxing and watching the light change and shadows appear on the walls was really beautiful. This installation is addictive because the longer you stay, the more you notice tiny details.

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Art / Design, England

Dead Angle

The beautiful thing about the ICN Gallery is that it has developed a real sense of community; it just seems to attract interesting, creative and friendly people. Through the gallery, we’ve been lucky to have met with some amazing artists and have had the chance to photograph work that inspires and motivates us to do better and think differently.

This time around, the gallery is presenting the work of Miyake Mai-san, an extremely talented and highly regarded artist and art director. I found her work visually interesting immediately. The layered ‘two-and-a-half-dimension‘ cut paper works are delicate and, because they are placed behind aluminium honeycomb screens, you can only see part of the artwork at one time. It was interesting to watch as people ducked and moved around to view the imagery in full.

Talking with Miyake-san was equally fascinating. She eloquently described multi-layered stories and reasoning behind each icon displayed in her work, and the depth under the surface was really rather poetic. She is in London now for a few weeks and we spent the afternoon with her today, just hanging-out at the ICN, and will no doubt spend a little more time together before she returns home.

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Art / Design, England

共栄デザイン

共栄デザイン

共栄デザインの設立者、岡本光市さんにお会いしたのは、数年前に「東京ぺちゃくちゃないと」で紹介させて頂いた時。当時同イベントのオーガナイザーをしていた私は、岡本さんご本人に作品のお話をして頂ける機会に心底ワクワクしたのを覚えている。彼の作品は、ヴィジュアル的には勿論、機能性に加えてエッジの効いたひねりやユーモアがあり、何とも言えないバランスを持っている。そして何より、ご本人の素敵な人柄が作品にさらなる魅力を与えているのは疑いない。

続きはこちら。。。

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Art / Design, England

Form of the Function

We braved the rain today to go to see Okamoto Kouichi perform at the V&A Museum. We have known Okamoto-san and his design company, Kyouei Design for quite a long time; Atsuko has been friends with him since she introduced him at Pecha Kucha Tokyo while we were still at KDa. We’ve long admired his quirky product design; Okamoto-san is a gifted musician with a strong sense for design simplicity, and also a delightful wit and humour.

Although we saw his Musical Table in Tokyo, this was the first time we were able to see it properly in action. 504 volume switches control the same number of music-box-motors laid out in rows on the floor each playing sounds at random. In Tokyo, the layout allowed for interactive sensors to control the motors, but in this, slightly strange, position at the V&A the interactive aspect of the table was overwhelmed by the number of people. It was lovely to chat with him beforehand and to watch him create abstract, improvised sound from 2 ceramic plates and that dense mass of wires. We didn’t get to say goodbye but will be sure to get in touch soon…

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Art / Design, England

ICN Ukiyo-e Part 2

The latest Ukiyo-e series is open at the ICN Gallery on Leonard Street; now with regular ‘First Thursday’ events, the gallery is becoming increasingly popular and was pretty busy on Thursday night. Happily, I rearranged my flight and made it back from Berlin just in time to join the team and photograph the opening party.

I mentioned this in my Part 1 post but remain convinced you won’t find more beautifully colourful, genuinely authentic Japanese wood-block prints anywhere else at such reasonable prices. Visit the gallery to see for yourself or you can also buy from the ICN Ukiyo-e online shop here. The amazing Goldfish Salvation piece is on display again, so its another chance to marvel at the painted goldfish, perhaps for the final time before it gets sold…

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Art / Design, England

ICN Ukiyo-e Part 1

The latest exhibition at the ICN Gallery is particularly fascinating. The Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints have been carefully researching and reproducing many of the greatest works from Japanese art history, using craft-skills of the very highest standard. All these new prints on display at the ICN are for sale, and for very reasonable prices considering the quality and that they are actual wood-block prints.

The detail is incredible and the colours really beautiful; quite an inspiration for us creatives, despite many of these designs being over 300 years old yet they still look so perfectly contemporary. This show is open until April 28, be sure to go and pick your favourite before someone else buys it and take home your very own ‘picture from a floating world’…!

Check the ICN Facebook page for the full set of photographs.

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