Monday, November 16, 2015

Art Street

One of the on-going events during Kokumin Bunkasai (Dec. 31 to Nov. 15), as mentioned elsewhere, I think, was something I originally thought was titled "Art Students Festival," implying it consisted of art created by university or high school students. Actually, the artists looked to be of all ages, but mostly between 20 and 40. The art was primarily hit-or-miss, without anything that I really liked, or that I considered to be real art. But there were some items, such as the giant red bug in the rafters that were at least worth photographing. And the bear tarot card reader.

With his bear tarot cards.

And this free-standing piece with the hanging fish. I wouldn't call this art...

And the space pigs. This exhibit was an example of art-in-progress. The artist spent the 2 weeks making paper mâché figures and then painting them, so you could see his progress from one day to the next. One of the things about this exhibit was that everyone had to tear down their works at 7 PM in the evening and put them in storage in one of the nearby empty store fronts, then set everything back up again the next morning. So, all the hallways were cleaned up when everyone went home for the night, making for a lot of additional work for the artists beyond the creative process itself.

(Space bear painting Tenten.)

This project consisted of a bunch of plastic sheets taped together to make a big walk-in bag, with the little fan at the left being used as a blower to keep the bag inflated. When things started, the bag was completely clean and fresh looking. Then, passersby were invited to get inside and hand paint the bag, so over time it became more of an interactive performance piece.

Down one of the other hallways, a different artist had his own workspace set up. He also painted during the week, this time big sheets of cloth, while talking to visitors.

When finished, the sheets were suspended from the ceiling of the hallway. There were 3 or 4 finished sheets.

The event included something called a Wander Map Stamp Rally. Tables all around Tenmonkan had copies of the maps, showing where each of the artists were located, and rough indicators for the stamp points. Some of the stamps were easy to find, placed on small tables right next to the exhibits. Others were in restaurants or in the capsule ball shop, and required that you spend money to "participate" in the art performance. Other stamp points were on the main streets at the edges of the shopping complex and weren't a part of the map. Getting 9 stamps let you enter a rally for some minor prizes. Getting 18 stamps put you in a better rally. I was able to get 11 stamps, but I gave up when I realized that I had to buy stuff in a Chinese restaurant, and from a capsule ball machine. So, I went to the main information center, where I pulled a piece of paper from a lottery box. To me, it looked like the paper was blank and that I'd lost, but the people at the table read off a number, and gave me a pack of 4 postcards.

The pictures on the cards are all riffs on Tenten, the "space alien" mascot for Tenmonkan. I like them, so I'm happy I participated in the stamp rally. But, as mentioned above, there really wasn't anything here that I considered "art". The event is over now, and the hallways seem to be a little emptier and a lot less interesting...

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