As a follow-up to the contemporary art galleries in the industrial unit, yesterday Ami took me to several art galleries in Ginza.
My favourite was Ono Garou. One of the artists told us this is the oldest building in Ginza – an area associated with expensive shopping – and I can well believe it.
Formerly an apartment building, it is fairly crumbly inside and now inhabited by artists. Most of the rooms (typically about 2.5m square) are individual gallery spaces, even the old bath room!
We spent most time in the two basement spaces.
TYPE-TRACE, part of divvydual teased out ideas about language, authorship and production: three sets of laptops, chairs and projectors where visitors were invited to type their thoughts whilst having the process of their typing logged. The document was then played back in real time with letterforms having differing sizing depending on how long it took before the corresponding key had been pressed.
Next to the room bathed in the cold light from the monitors and projectors was the work of Saito Juichi. Dressed formally in suit, tie and white cotton gloves, the artist welcomed visitors at an equally formally dressed table outside his space. With soft voice and great solemnity we were then shown into what is essentially the cupboard under the stairs.
Only being able to stand upright immediately inside the door, we then had to stoop and shuffle over the rabbit pelts to view the sculpture at the far end that also provided the only lighting in the space.
Once outside and back at the table again, we were ushered through the process of signing our names (with a fountain pen, naturally) on visitors cards that were then put away in a lidded box.
Shortly afterwards we returned and, with Ami’s help with translation, Saito-san became the first person in Japan invited to participate in the Peer-to-Peer Sketchbooks project.