A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
長野県松本市出身の草間さんは幼少時からアートに興味を示し、若くして才能を開花。日本画を学んだが旧弊な日本画壇に失望、雑誌や本で独学でヨーロッパやアメリカのアバンギャルドを学ぶ。「too small, too servile, too feudalistic and too scornful of women（狭小で独創性がなく、前近代的で女性を軽蔑する）」だった当時の日本を離れ、1957年に世界のアートの中心・ニューヨークに渡る。当時西洋人男性が優勢を誇ったNYアート界で、アウトサイダーであるアジア人かつ女性という二重ハンデを負いながら、ドナルド・ジャッド、アンディ・ウォーホル、ジョゼフ・コーネル、クレス・オルデンバーグ等有名アーティストと交流を持ち、コンテンポラリー・アーティストとしての地位を確立した。1973年に体調を崩して帰国。幼い頃から幻聴・幻覚に悩まされていた草間さんは、現在82歳と言うご高齢ながらも、自身が「自宅」と呼ぶ入院先の精神病院からスタジオに日参、日々作品を創り続けている。その強迫的ともいえる制作活動は、自身の心理的トラウマからの逃避、言わばセラピーのようなものなのかもしれない。
A Japanese contemporary artist, well-known for her repeating dot patterns, Yayoi Kusama‘s retrospective “Yayoi Kusama” is currently running at Tate Modern until June 5th. The exhibition gathers her artworks over 60 years of her career in variety of media, including painting, drawing, collage, film, sculpture, performance art and installations. Kusama is the second known Japanese female artist in UK, after late John Lennon’s soul mate, Yoko Ono. Kusama came to UK on the opening of the show, and appeared all in red, not just red but bright red – red bob cut and the same red dress with big white dots (the Guardian article).
Kusama’s works are characterized by compulsion, repetition, and rhythmicity in a wide variety of mediums. In the exhibition, you see Accumulation sculptures such as phallus-covered Sex Obsession series (the second photo) and Food Obsession, consisting of objects covered with dry macaroni; Walking Piece, a series of colour slides with Kusama wearing a bright pink kimono walking the streets of New York; Self-Obliteration (YouTube Part 1 / part 2), a film documented her Body Festivals in 1967, in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots, along with images of her paintings and installations; large multi-part installations such as The Clouds and Accumulation sculptures; recent paintings with repeating motifs of eyes, flowers, hieroglyphic self-portrait in profile, and dots in an intense bright colours (second bottom photo); and mesmerising Infinity Mirror Rooms (bottom photo) that concludes the show.
Born in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, she developed her passion for art from a young age, but at the same time started to suffer neurotic and obsessional symptoms. She studied Nihonga painting but was frustrated by its conventionality, and started to teach herself about the European and American avant-garde from books and magazines. After her certain success in Japan, she decided to go to New York, center of the art world, in 1957, leaving Japan where is “too small, too servile, too feudalistic and too scornful of women.” Kusama came into contact with renown artists including Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and Joseph Cornell. She established herself as a prominent contemporary artist, with an identity of “outsider”, both as an Asian and as a woman in a male-dominated Western art world. In 1973, she returned to Japan in ill health. As an age of 82, she commutes to her studio from a mental institution where she lives and calls ‘home’ , and still work vigorously. Her obsessiveness in making art is largely coming from a desire to escape from psychological trauma, and art seems to be very therapeutic to her. →reference: LOUIS VUITTON×Yayoi Kusama site
Kusama’s life is more intriguing than her works for me. Her vitality and strength that helped her survive the tough period when the status of women and ethnic minority is subordinate, and made herself the most prominent female artist in Japan, is truly exceptional and amazing. However, the exhibition doesn’t succeed to fully express her power and intensity, unfortunately.
This 11-minute silent 35mm film with a sequence of every changing black & white, colour, and hand-tinted images is projected onto a 13m tall white monolith at the end of a darkened Turbine Hall. The large scale work shows us a beauty of analogue film as well as its skilful techniques as opposed to recent overpowering digital images. It also evokes the gigantic mysterious black monolith from the Kubrick‘s science fiction masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).” Visually interesting at the beginning, but I got a bit bored soon as I couldn’t see a connection between each image, unfortunately…
English National Opera（イングリッシュ・ナショナル・オペラ／ENO）で、ヘンデルのメサイア（Messiah）を観た。イエス・キリストの生涯を描いたオラトリオの名作・メサイアは、もともとオペラの楽曲ではないのだが、気鋭の演出家・Deborah Warner（デボラ・ワーナー）によって、現代社会を舞台に、ダンスを取り入れたユニークなオペラ作品に仕上がった。衣装も小物も現代風、時折舞台後方のスクリーンに宗教画が映されたり、キリスト教の儀式に使われる小道具が劇中に出てくる程度で、キリストの物語にも関わらず宗教色は強くない。ティーンエイジャーの妊娠はマリアの処女懐胎、天使が羊飼いにキリスト降誕を告げる場面は、お遊戯会で子供たちがその場面を演じる形に、キリストの磔刑シーンは、若者の喧嘩に変えるなど、原作と繋がりを持たせようとしているが、ちょっと無理があるかも。キリスト教の学校に行っていたので、ある程度の知識はあるのだが、舞台上で起こってることと音楽とどう繋がりがあるのか分からず、後でタイムズ紙のレビューを読んで、ああそういうことだったのかと得心した。
We saw Handel‘s Messiah at the English National Opera (ENO). Messiah was not written for opera, but the director Deborah Warner transforms this oratorio masterpiece into an unique opera work, setting in modern urban life and taking in dance elements. The opera seems to reduce religion to a minimum – costumes and stage sets are modern, except the religious arts occasionally projected on screens and some ceremonial objects used in some scenes. The director tries to make a connection between the original story and this opera, but the attempt unfortunately doesn’t not really work well and quite cheesy: the Virgin Birth becomes teenage pregnancy, the meeting of shepherds and angels is turned into a school nativity play, and Christ’s scourging and Crucifixion translate into a fight among youths. I went to a Protestant school and know a bit about the life of Jesus Christ, but I barely understood the relationship between the music and what was going on on the stage. I figured out the meaning of some scenes after I came back home and read the review by the Times.
The biggest problem for me was the kids in the opera – I know it is not their fault but it was just annoying. A 6 year-old boy was almost always on the stage, walking around, running or sitting down, and it was very distracting. The scene of school play was really irritating as well, except a song by a boy with beautiful clear voice: the kids jumped up and down and the parents took a pictures or filmed with camcorders. It is reported that the opera uses 44 extras other than singers, including dancers. Some people just stand up or lie down – is it really necessary to put useless people on the stage??
However I I like Handel and Baroque music and enjoyed the music a lot: the Handel specialist conductor Laurence Cummings led the orchestra beautifully and voices of the two female soprano and alto singers were truly graceful. The modern and simple stage sets designed by Tom Pye were interesting, such as video footage of modern society (people going up and down on an elevator, or silhouettes of moving cranes) and transparent coffins placed all over the stage at the final part. We got a ticket, original price of £71 for only £10 with Evening Standardpromotion – so it was really worth going. But I would be upset if I paid £71 for the opera…
マリスカルは、1989年にEstudio Mariscalを設立、世界に名だたるデザイナーや建築家等とのプロジェクトを手がけてきた。著名建築家、設計者19名が各フロアをデザインして話題を呼んだ、2005年オープンのマドリッドの高級ホテル「ホテル・プエルタ・アメリカ」では、フェルナンド・サラス（Fernando Salas）とともに11階を担当。スペインの靴ブランド、Camper（カンペール）のバッグコレクション「Camper For Hands（カンペール・フォー・ハンズ）」のロゴタイプやグラフィックも手がけ、2003年9月に開店したカンペール表参道店も設計・デザインした。また、1991年から94年まで発行されていた日本のタウン誌・apo（アポ、S.S.コミュニケーションズ）のマリスカルの表紙デザインも見ることができる。
The first UK retrospective of Spanish designer and artist Javier Mariscal, “Mariscal: Drawing Life” at Design Museum will finish soon in November 1. This exhibition put Mariscal’s works over 30 years together on the same floor, and is extremely colorful and fun. Born in 1950 in Valencia and based in Barcelona since 1970, multi-talented Mariscal have produced a wide variety of works – anything creative. ‘Cobi‘, the official Olympic mascot he designed for the Barcelona 1992Olympic Games, made his name worldly recognized. Mariscal: Drawing Lifepresents his major works in all kinds of medium, raging from drawing and illustration which are the basis for his designs, to painting, sculpture, cartoon characters, interior design such as furniture and lighting, graphic design including corporate identity and typography, textiles, landscaping, films, photographs and so on.
He opened the Estudio Mariscal in 1989 and has collaborated in several projects with famous designers and architects. His most notable works include Hotel Puerta América in Madrid (opened in 2005), a project in which the best architecture and design studios of the moment participated. Estudio Mariscal and Fernando Salas were responsible for the interior design of the eleventh floor. He is in charge of the logotype and graphic for the new brand of bags for Camper, “Camper For Hands, ” and designed a Camper shop in Omotesando, Tokyo in September 2003.
Mariscal’s superb combinations of colors, innovative designs, and his very original style of “out-of-shape” illustrations, often noisy but at the same quite relaxing as well – it is like a bright Spanish sun in a clear blue sky.
We went to see “Rosalind Nashashibi” exhibition (Sep 10 – Nov 1) at ICA. Palestinian-British artist Nashashibi was born in London and studied at the Glasgow School of Art. Much of her work consists of films of everyday life in urban environments. The exhibition presents 16mm films from the last four years as well as examples of her photographic works. Here is my favorite two works of hers.
‘The Prisoner’ (2008) is a double-projection film work. The camera follows a woman around the brutalist architectural landscape of Southbank Centre in London. Nashashibi projects the same images side by side but creates a six-second time lag between the left and right screens.The delay doubles the senses of tension and thrill, and fascinates the viewers.
‘Eyeballing‘ (2005) juxtaposes scenes of New York policemen with the serendipitous ‘faces’, such as electric sockets, fire hydrants and shop windows, that Nashasibi finds in the city. The contrast between the tough looking policemen scrutinizing around and foolish-look soulless static ‘faces’ was pretty intriguing.