Emerging art gets a fair Start
The ssecond edition of the fair for emerging artists, Start, is underway at London’s Saatchi Gallery with offering from around the world – from Riga to Los Angeles, with an emphasis on Asia.
The ssecond edition of the fair for emerging artists, Start, is underway at London’s Saatchi Gallery with offering from around the world – from Riga to Los Angeles, with an emphasis on Asia.
20 BEST IN SHOW AT MAISON&OBJET FALL 2015
The biannual Maison&Objet Paris edition has just closed its doors on another successful exhibition. The show had eight halls packed with product and elaborate stands showcasing the new and the best of European and international homewares, furniture, accessories, textiles and lighting.
To be a trendsetter you also have to be a talent scout and once again Maison&Objet offered a platform for new and emerging talent. Two standout designers in this showcase were Gilles Neveu and design duo Laura Lynn Jansen and Thomas Vailly, all inspired by nature but utilizing technology to create optical effects. Other notable highlights included the Floating Flower Garden Space by Japanese techno-artists TeamLab. This was an extraordinary sensory experience of 2300 suspended flowers with their roots anchored overhead creating a botanical fairyland of rising and falling blooms.
While the Maison&Objet Observatoire de la Maison showcased a “Precious” theme, exhibitors seemed to keep to simpler forms and less extravagant details. Metal and wood were still dominant materials used in simplified forms although there is growing use of leather for details such as straps, pulls and hooks. The showcase was also awash with shades of blue, from light to dark, bold green and pinks. After the big bang celebrations of the show’s 20th Anniversary in January, the September showing seemed an altogether quieter affair. The larger high-end furnishing companies were fewer on the ground with many more accessory, tabletop and home décor collections being represented across the halls.
Still, the Scandinavian design houses were out in full force, showcasing many new to market products. French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have created the Pallissade range of outdoor seating for Danish brand Hay with slatted seats in powdercoated steel; its spare form will be available from early 2016. The Palette table by Jaime Hayon for &tradition was a wonderfully considered collaboration and created quite a buzz with its application of metal, marble and wood in differing sizes and shapes. The design duo Space Cophenhagen designed their first table collection for Gubi, the Moon collection in oak includes both coffee table and generous dining table options. Danish design company by Lassen reissued its Flemming Lassen-designed easy chair, The Tired Man, in new colorways (the chair was originally designed for The Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Competition in 1935).
Of the established accessories brands Danish Ferm Living showed clean modernist lines and subtle textural finishes. Meanwhile, the 175-year-old Kähler Design has collaborated with illustrator and product designer Anders Arhøj to launch a range of beautiful sculptural ceramics with a dense colorful glaze.
Moving beyond Scandinavia, French manufacturer Harto showed their new Anatole side table and Eugénie coffee table, both made with oak and tubular metal in four color options. Belgian company BuzziSpace introduced its collaboration with textile giant Kvadrat. The popular BuzziNordic sofa has been updated with brightly coloured Kvadrat upholstery. They also debuted their outdoor office concept BuzziShed at the show.
TEAMLAB BRINGS ITS FLOATING FLOWER GARDEN TO MAISON & OBJET
An immersive experience involving more than 2,300 live orchids
Teamlab is a collective of Japanese designers and creative talents based in Tokyo. Their Floating Flower Garden installation, which was originally showcased at Tokyo’s Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, was recently reassembled for Maison & Objet in Paris. Over two thousand orchids, suspended in midair, create a softly undulating canopy that interacts with user movement. Visitors slowly immerse themselves in a slow dance of flowers lifting and falling. When combined with soft music and the delicate floral odor, the installation becomes an enchanting sensory experience that draws visitors in, encouraging them to become one with the garden.
Incredibly, the entire garden is alive and growing. The same orchids were used in both installations and were transported from Japan to France specifically for Maison & Objet.
START Art Fair (until 13 September) director Niru Ratnam was literally coming up roses yesterday. He welcomed preview visitors while immersed in the ever-shifting digital blooms created by Tokyo-based collective teamLab, which was one of the most popular—and Instagrammed—projects of the fair. And he had a lot to smile about, with plaudits rolling in for the second edition of this 47-gallery fair that lives up to the much bandied term “boutique” by comfortably occupying three floors of the elegantly neutral retail-ish Saatchi Gallery spaces. But START is rarely bland and genuinely lives up to the well-worn “global” label. There are galleries from Bogotá to Budapest via Colombo aImagine this. You’re in a dark room. Around you, projected onto the walls and floor, is a bright profusion of flowers in motion, constantly budding, blooming, withering and dying. As you approach the wall, your reflection appears among the blossoms, wreathed in petals. Your movements trigger changes, causing the blooms to shrivel or spring up anew.
Over the course of an hour, the flowers change to reflect the four seasons of a year. Also on the walls are two separate artworks displayed on large digital panels, each with a similar, blooming theme. All around the room, flying through the flowers, are countless butterflies. As you watch, they move in a seamless, fluttering path from the wall into the digital artworks then out the other side, back onto the wall, without a pause or flicker. If you reach out and touch a butterfly, it dies.
This installation, Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, is the latest interactive work from Japanese creative group TeamLab, shown at Saatchi Gallery in London. Closer to home, visitors to the Sydney Contemporary art fair can see Flowers and People – Gold, a smaller-scale TeamLab work shown by Paddington’s Martin Browne Contemporary gallery.
This one appears across four digital monitors hung together as panels, with a sensor on the floor that picks up movement. As the viewer approaches, flowers start to release tiny petals in a swirling snowstorm effect, and gradually bright patches appear on the screen, like a glowing galaxy of stars. The flowers in these patches wither and die before regenerating. Complex programming algorithms responding to the sensors mean the artwork is never the same.
“The more intense your physical relationship is to the work, the more intense the work becomes,” says Baden Pailthorpe, researcher and digital artist at Martin Browne. “When you’re used to instant gratification, like touch-screen instant outcomes, this is more gentle.” As with all TeamLab’s work, Flowers and People – Gold is connected to traditional Japanese art, with delicate, decorative elements presented on screens with a glowing golden background. Though beautiful and meditative to look at, it is not a passive experience once you realise your effect on the work.
“In the context of humans impacting their environment, you often can’t see the effects straight away because the system is so complex and slow-moving, but still the changes are profound,” says Pailthorpe.
The initial idea for Flowers and People came from the founder of TeamLab, Toshiyuki Inoko, during a visit to Japan’s Kunisaki peninsula last year, when the countryside was full of flowers. It made him think about the relationship between people and flowers, which ones were wild and which were the result of human intervention, how people and nature shape each other.
After studying mathematical engineering, Inoko formed his “artist collaborative” in Tokyo in 2001, gathering a pool of programmers, engineers, animators, mathematicians, architects, graphic designers and editors.
HIs idea was not to form a company but to have a place to hang out with his friends, a creative laboratory where they could work on his fundamental belief: that art and technology can help humankind to evolve in positive ways.
It took 10 years for TeamLab to start producing the large-scale interactive art that in the past few years has gained them an international reputation, from London to Singapore to New York.
Recent highlights include projecting a giant koi carp onto a vast screen of water behind a kabuki dancer in Las Vegas; and a 3-D waterfall called Universe of Water Particles, with hundreds of thousands of water particles individually rendered, pouring over a virtual rock at a resolution five times full high-definition. For Crystal Fireworks of Wishes, visitors choose a fireworks display on their smartphone, make a wish, then set off their own explosive show on a 3-D screen of hanging crystal light strands.
Takashi Kudo, TeamLab’s communication director, says although technology is a crucial element, it is not the first priority but a tool to express creative thought – the way artists use paint.
“We have something we want to explain. That thing we cannot explain by words, that’s the reason it becomes art,” Kudo says.
Who comes up with a concept is not important; it’s all about using TeamLab’s collective power to bring the concept to life. Like a giant hive mind, the group has 400 brains working for it, with an average age of less than 30. Some are involved in commercial work, such as advertising and data collection, which helps support the main artistic focus.
What sets TeamLab apart, Pailthorpe says, is the marriage of ultra-modern technology with age-old stories and art.
“Most digital practice is concerned with cutting-edge ideas and technology. This is between the two. It looks to the past with a foot in the future, and it is uniquely Japanese in that sense,” he says.
TeamLab’s work is also, as Kudo says, “100 per cent positive”. Where much of contemporary art offers a critique of society, for TeamLab “art is sanctuary”. But what about those butterflies dying when you touch them? Is that positive?
Yes, says Kudo, because they die very beautifully, and then regenerate. The Saatchi installation is also about releasing art from the restriction of frames, and being mindful of others.
“If you just see it on a monitor, you don’t think about other people because it doesn’t change,” Kudo says. “But if you are part of this artwork it will change, so you have to think a little bit about other people.”
Inoko believes small changes in people’s values can mean big changes in society, but he also simply wants to invent things that make the heart beat faster and, in our digitally saturated world, reboot a sense of wonder.
“I want the future to be exciting,” he says. “A dull future makes life hard. If tomorrow looks duller than today, why live on?”
SO YOU WANT ONE ON YOUR WALL
People and Flowers – Gold sells for $US80,000 ($114,000) at Martin Browne Contemporary, a price that includes a box containing the hard drive, with software to run the work. The buyer must then purchase the required hardware, including monitors and sensors. “It’s not that different to buying a computer and installing a game,” says Pailthorpe. “Once it’s installed, it’s the most simple thing, like turning a light switch on and off.” Of an edition of 10 works, the gallery has sold five since first showing it in July.
Japan’s digital dominance is now on vivid display in the capital’s museums and galleries. The trick is finding them
I WAS WADING through a white-walled gallery in Tokyo last winter, where 2,300 intricately mottled and bearded orchids dangled from the ceiling. Each living flower was kitted out with motion sensors so that strands of the hanging vines gently rose into the air as I approached, creating a flower-tunnel effect wherever I walked. The surreal delicacy of the experience was heightened by a tinkling, ethereal soundtrack piped into the room for an effect that was equal parts heaven and allergy commercial. It was also just plain cool.
The artists behind this work, “Floating Flower Garden,” are teamLab, a Tokyo collective specializing in site-specific, digital installations. teamLab also designed the Japan pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 (through Oct 31) and have exhibited at Milan’s Salone de Mobile, Hong Kong’s Art Basel and several other events. Last year, teamLab was picked up by the New York-based Pace Gallery—which also represents blockbuster contemporary artists including Kiki Smith and Sol LeWitt, an unexpected crossover between the all-too-often cloistered worlds of art and technology. What wasn’t a surprise was that the high-tech work came from Tokyo, a city that has never shied away from electronics and artful digitization.
Tokyo’s contemporary art scene has long been overshadowed by Hong Kong and Beijing and dominated by Pop-movement artists like Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama. But in the last five years, a small group of contemporary Japanese artists including Tabaimo, Hiraki Sawa and teamLab have begun quietly embracing digital and other high-tech methods, often as a way to express modern interpretations of more traditional Japanese art forms—such as woodblock printing, ikebana (flower arrangement) and even anime, bringing the city to the global fore in the realm of digital art.
Since English is scarcely spoken in Tokyo and galleries are scattered widely around the 5,200-square-mile megalopolis of 38 million people, the best way to experience this new genre is to hire an art guide. I arranged mine through the Palace Hotel Tokyo, which recently joined with Blouin Artinfo, the media company behind art magazines including Art + Auction and Modern Painters, to offer customized tours of Tokyo’s art scene. Blouin offers eight-hour private art tours to non-hotel guests for about $415 a day; the Palace Hotel Tokyo’s three-night Transcendent Tokyo package costs $1,645 and includes breakfast, drinks, club-lounge access and a deluxe balcony room in addition to the private art tour. After a few email exchanges with my guide Darryl, a Harvard grad from Singapore who has lived in Tokyo for 8 years, we met up for lunch at a trendy soba noodle place in the popular Ebisu district to map out our tour.
Our first stop: NADiff A/P/A/R/T, an art book shop and complex of galleries housed in a discreetly marked glass and steel structure on an Ebisu back street that I never would have found on my own (Shibuya, 1-18-4, nadiff.com). NADiff is one of Tokyo’s best places to see the work of young, avant-garde artists. At the G/P Gallery, on the second floor, we viewed Takashi Kawashima’s high-definition black-and-white landscape photographs, which are beautiful in their own right but were overlaid with projected film clips—a still volcano puffed ghostly plumes of smoke, a quiet mountain is orbited by moving clouds (gptokyo.jp).
Next up, Darryl led me to the annual, late-winter Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions, which runs in February and March and showcases new-media technologies (1-13-2 Mita, Meugro-ku, yebizo.com). This year it included exhibits by Noriko Yamaguchi, whose “Keitai Girl” is a sexy she-bot made of cellphone keypads, and Fujiko Nakaya, who opened Japan’s first video art gallery in 1980 and specializes in “fog sculptures.”
Darryl was a font of arty intel and had plenty of suggestions for where to go on my own after the tour was finished. These included a reservation at Tsuru Ni Tachibana, a “punk-rock kaiseki” restaurant (Asagayakita 2-4-7, Suginami-ku, falco.sakura.ne.jp/tsuru ) and Bar Zingaro, an artist-project/cafe hidden deep in a manga mall in the off-the-path neighborhood of Broadway Nakano (5 Chome-52-15, bar-zingaro.jp ).
Those who prefer to explore on their own should download Tokyo Art Beat, the exhaustively comprehensive iPhone app, ($2), which is hands down the best guide to the city’s art world and updated regularly with exhibits, events, parties and art fairs. It allows users to search for exhibits by genres that include video installation, digital and performance.
Clicking on its “digital” tab led me to the Tabaimo exhibit at Gallery Koyanagi hidden away on the eighth floor of an office tower in Ginza (Koyanagi Bldg. 8F, 1-7-5, gallerykoyanagi.com). I am a fan of Tabaimo’s work and had seen her at Art Basel and in shows at New York’s James Cohan Gallery. She lives in the Nagano Prefecture and uses a unique method of capturing the “color” of Edo-period woodblock prints by hand drawing them, then scanning the images into a computer to create animated shorts that often have a dark twist. Some of Tabaimo’s pieces are projected into the adjoining corners of the wall and ceiling with different panels playing out different dramas, others onto a wall with pieces of sofas and coffee tables protruding from it, blurring the lines between 2-D and 3-D.
“I don’t want to be thought of as a ‘digital artist,’ ” Tabaimo told me when I met her at the gallery. “It’s not that I don’t use technology, but the term suggests something else and I’d hate to disappoint audiences expecting something more high-tech. For me, using the computer is just a tool to get my art to the world.”
Annoyingly, what the Tokyo Art Beat app doesn’t let you do is search by artist, which I discovered after trying to find one of my favorites.
I first encountered Japanese artist Hiraki Sawa in London, where he now lives, but his work—an elegant layering of film and animation—is regularly on display at Tokyo’s OTA Fine Arts and is distinctly Japanese (6 Chome-6-9 Roppongi, Minato, otafinearts.com). His high-definition films of airplanes flying past bathroom sinks and lush waterfalls are often looped on minuscule flatscreens and sometimes hidden inside hand-carved wooden boxes, creating a sort of digital jewel box.
If you only have time for one stop in Tokyo, head to Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, which is equal parts EPCOT and Art Basel and located in Tokyo’s Odaiba district, about a 30-minute subway ride from Shinjuku Station (www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en ).
It was here on a Saturday afternoon that I waited for an hour to see teamLab’s Floating Garden exhibit (which has since moved on). Fortunately, there’s no shortage of artwork in the 10-floor mega space; other teamLab exhibits include gigantic galleries lined with interactive screens, some with elaborate 3-D graphics, others with motion sensors that alter the image depending on audience interaction.
previously showcased at tokyo’s miraikan national museum of emerging science and innovation, japanese collective studio teamlab‘s serene installation ‘floating flower garden’ has been transported, re-suspended and put on show once again during this year’s maison et objet in paris. engrossed with a vivid and dense canopy of orchids imported from holland, visitors enter and is immediately embraced with an amalgamation of actions happening at the same time. from calming music in the background, the blend of fragrant aromas, to the flowers slowly moving and adapting to movement, it is evident that the installation aims to stimulate viewer’s senses and emotions.
comprised of a collective of designers and creatives from japan, the studio has a growing portfolio of installations that blur the boundaries between the arts and the digital domain. their engaging work often places the viewer as an active participant and ultimately, becoming part of the piece itself.
at maison et objet, we interview takashi kudo and aki hamada of teamlab where they discuss living with nature, how they resolved the ‘machinery’ movement of the flowers, and their influence of japanese zen gardens.
Le collectif japonais Teamlab, profondément inspiré par les technologies digitales, a invité les visiteurs de M&O cet automne à une promenade sensorielle au cœur d’un jardin de fleurs suspendu. En plus de la poésie apportée par les espèces choisies, les fleurs se sont animées au rythme nonchalant de la composition musicale jouée dans le lieu.
2300 fleurs ont été suspendues, flottant dans un lieu blanc aux allures d’Eden. Inspiré du rêve, et de la féérie qu’ils peuvent parfois évoquer, le temps d’une parenthèse le lieu a plongé ses visiteurs au cœur d’un univers où le temps semblait suspendu.
Photographies : Govin Sorel
Pour en savoir plus, visitez le site de teamLab
The computer-generated exhibition is constantly changing and includes flowers that spring up, blossom, and wither away in real-time and in response to the movements of visitors to the gallery
Computer-generated flowers and butterflies will cover the walls of a gallery as part of a huge digital art installation by a group of Japanese artists.The 500-strong collective, which includes programmers and scientists alongside artists, work under the name teamLab and are taking part in the START fair at the Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square.Their work, called Flutter Of Butterflies Beyond Borders, is constantly changing and includes flowers that spring up, blossom, and wither away in real-time and in response to the movements of visitors to the gallery.The START project, which is in its second year at the gallery, brings together work from 47 venues in 25 cities including Tehran, Lagos and Seoul.Saatchi Gallery chief executive Nigel Hurst, who is a co-founder of the fair, said: “The Saatchi Gallery’s role is not only to bring contemporary art wherever it is being made to the widest possible audience, but also to help legitimise the making and collecting of art.“START provides a wonderful platform for new galleries and young artists from all over the world so we’re delighted to be hosting this exciting initiative in its second year.”The fair, which runs until Monday September 13, also includes work by another Japanese group, Chim Pom, including footage they shot after breaking in to a restricted area closed down by the government in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Japanese art collective TeamLab brings its impressive interactive digital artwork to the UK for the first time with an immersive installation at the Saatchi Gallery.
The exhibition, titled Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, features a digital ecosystem of flowers and butterflies that visitors can explore. A blackened room is brought to life with ephemeral sweeping imagery of butterflies and flowers that slowly transform in response to the viewers’ movements.
Rendered in real time, the flowers begin to spring, bloom and decay, changing in colour to depict the different seasons of the year. By standing still or by making sudden movements, visitors can affect the cycle, generating unique and continuously changing patterns. Gentle sounds accompany the visuals to further enhance this all-encompassing experience.
Interactive platforms continue to push the boundaries of digital aesthetics. For more on responsive colour, look to our Colour Spectrum reports Reactive S/S 17 and Reactive S/S 17: Visual Update.
The exhibition is part of Start art fair at the Saatchi Gallery in London, which runs from September 10-13.
START Art Fair (until 13 September) director Niru Ratnam was literally coming up roses yesterday. He welcomed preview visitors while immersed in the ever-shifting digital blooms created by Tokyo-based collective teamLab, which was one of the most popular—and Instagrammed—projects of the fair. And he had a lot to smile about, with plaudits rolling in for the second edition of this 47-gallery fair that lives up to the much bandied term “boutique” by comfortably occupying three floors of the elegantly neutral retail-ish Saatchi Gallery spaces. But START is rarely bland and genuinely lives up to the well-worn “global” label. There are galleries from Bogotá to Budapest via Colombo and Cape Town, Jeddah, Lagos, Riga and Seoul, which combine a high level of quality with some genuine surprises.
High points include a combination of vintage Czech and Slovak conceptual art at Bratislava’s Soda Gallery; the disquietingly manipulated vintage photographs of Lucia Tallova; a giant, coiling graphite drawing by young Iranian Farhad Gavzan on Tehran’s Dastan Basement space; and some haunting little figurative paintings from young Georgian artist Maka Batiashvili on Project ArtBeat from Tbilisi. Art from Asia is a START speciality. Notable shows include a specially organised exhibition of radical work from Singapore; Osage Gallery’s particularly beautiful solo stand of Au Hoi Lam’s meditative riffs on language and font; Bae Jin Sik’s monolithic cement and glass heads from South Korea; and Sri Lankan Pala Pothupitiye at Colombo’s Hempel Galleries presenting finely wrought sculptural weapons that tap into the history of violence on the island.Nearer to home, Peckham-based Arcadia Missa explore post-internet gender politics. One of the fair’s strongest and most disquieting statements is Italian-Eritrean Aida Silvestri—at London’s Roman Road Gallery—who literally traces the traumatic route taken by Eritrean refugees who have travelled illegally to the UK in lines stitched across their blurred faces. Is there room for another art fair in London? In the case of START, the answer has to be a resounding YES!