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Asian PULSE and elsewhere


A lot of what I admired at PULSE came from Asian artists.

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Shi Chieh Huang makes robotic sculptures that remind me of sea creatures and that range from whiz-bang to elegant. The piece showing at Virgil de Voldere Gallery was ethereal as it swam through the air. We’ve posted on his work at Vox Populi here and earlier at Asian Arts Initiative here. The Taiwan-born artist now lives in New York.

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Across the aisle at Mizuma Gallery, based in Tokyo, we saw intriguing work by several artists, one of them Hisashi Tenmyouya. This piece draws from traditional Japanese art at the same time that it nods to martial arts and video games. The title, Eight ‘Serpent and Crane’ Moves vs. Drunken Fists made me laugh, and the gold background and metal trim on the frame suggest Japanese lacquered boxes and screens.

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Also at Mizuma, a couple of elegant, traditionally Japanese perspectives on the figure get a load of new content from Akino Kondoh. His (her?) Pupation, Vol. 2 includes little ballet dancers twirling as a young girl throws up. The use of the traditional figure style suggests that modern female conformity is much like old versions of female conformity.

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Tomoko Konoike’s hand-drawn animation video, “Mimio-Odyssey,” was trippy and dreamy, with drawings that charmed. The affect included touches of Japanese cuteness undercut by the non-industrial, hand-made drawings.

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At Freight + Volume, Asuka Ohsawa‘s work was on the wall (see post for our last encounter with her work).

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And one of the big PULSE installations was a wall covered with cut-out plywood paintings by Yokono Kenichi, a sure statement of Asian art-market expansion and globalization.

PULSE’s Asian presence outdistanced the other fairs’, but all of them were riding the commercial promise of globalization.

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At SCOPE, Kintaro Hiramatsu’s paintings Person Work II (top series) and Person Work III (bottom) called up the brush gestures of Asian painting, the precision of photography, and content that’s international, on display at Gallery Beaux, a Tokyo gallery.

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Using a similar technique to fashion installation gal Yokono Kenichi–painted plywood cutouts, Shintaro Miyaki was one of a number of interesting artists showing work at Tokyo’s Tomio Koyama Gallery booth at the Armory.

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Speaking of fashion and globalization issue, installation/video artist Cao Fei created a display of cheap rip-off Burberry plaid garments made in China, plus a couple of videos showing people crawling around like dogs, shopping, in her “Rabid Dog” piece at Courtyard Gallery, Beijing. (It’s the Year of the Dog, by the way; and also by the way, how did the ugliest plaid on earth get to be such a fashion statement)?

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Borrowing a still from Cao’s video, painter Yan Lei expanded on the rabid dog theme with his “New York Dog Year,” a vision of dog-shoppers gone wild.

Speaking of shoppers and globalism gone wild, this year it’s all about Asia. Next year, maybe Africa. It’s a big art world, and somebody has to globalize it.

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