2009年05月29日

Collect 2009 Post-Show Report

Collect 2009 Yufuku Saatchi Gallery.jpg
(Facade of Saatchi Gallery, Venue of Collect 2009)

collect 2009 010.jpg
(Mitsumasa "Tom" Aoyama at work, along with Wahei Aoyama)

Art fairs never cease to amaze me, nor do they fail to enthrall and entrance both visitors and exhibitors alike. Lights flash, artworks glisten, rumours abound, and ultimately, works sell en mass, with the metallic sounds of credit card readers heard ricocheting off the whitewashed halls of the Saatchi Gallery, the brand-new venue of Collect 2009.

This oiled amalgamation of art and consumption is strangely exotic, and at the same time, oddly intoxicating. Exhaustion, in eager friendship with the laws of gravity, had already pulled me down from the preview (unquestionably the busiest day of the fair), but surprisingly enough, I found myself back up on Day 1, frighteningly energetic and ready to meet an entirely different kind of clientele for each and every day of the show. It is these meetings that please me most -- listening to what people viscerally feel about the art that we present. As I had selected each and every work, it is especially gratifying when a collector who had never before seen Japanese art in his life exclaim that the works on display are the most beautiful he had ever seen. Arigato gozaimasu.

Collect 2009 Yufuku Works on Display.jpg
(Arranged display before the opening....)

And as the curtains closed on Collect 2009, it is fair to claim that this edition of the show, held for the first time at a venue for contemporary art (ie Charles Saatchi's new pad), was a very different entity from what had preceded it at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2008. Not only was Collect shortened to 3 days from 5, but the gallery space could now physically allow for exhibitors to expand their stand sizes, which was an impossibility at the V&A. This, in turn, allowed for exhibitors to be more ambitious with their display designs, and more importantly, with the types of works they would exhibit.

Collect 2009 Yufuku Visitors.jpg
(Many, many visitors with kind words for our art and artists)

Likewise, I found a new challenge in assembling an orchestra of works that could be shown as a symphonic collage, and would not be drowned from the sheer size of the enlargened stand (which I also had to spend much time in carefully designing in order to accentuate each and every work). I believe this preparation was vital to our success at Collect 2009.

Collect 2009 Yufuku Nagae Shigekazu.jpg
(Major work by Nagae Shigekazu which received perhaps the most acclaim from visitors, on par with our Fukami Sueharu and Ikuta Niyoko works, which can be viewed in previous entries).

I'm of the opinion that Collect is still going through a learning curve, and will progressively improve with time. Of course, what is paramount is the quality of the art on display. I am curious to see what sort of galleries are added to next year's exhibitor list, if any, alongside the usual suspects, and hope that even greater synergy can be bolstered as a result.

All of us at Toku Art and Yufuku Gallery sincerely thank the many visitors to our stand, and we extend to you our deepest gratitude for taking the time to speak with us and enjoy the works on display -- we report each and every comment to our artists, and they too are extremely happy to hear from you.

We look forward to seeing you again at Collect 2010 -- our planning has already begun for next year's show, and as always, please expect to be pleasantly surprised with the works and artists we will be presenting.

From eastern skies,

Wahei Aoyama 青山和平
Toku Art Limited

mihara ken dm work.JPG

ps. Next Thursday is the start of Mihara Ken's (三原研 1958- ) first exhibition of new works since his Japan Ceramic Society Award exhibition in August 2008. Mihara-san amazes me in his ability to constantly challenge himself by discarding old forms (however popular) to create new ones. For this upcoming show, he will be presenting completely new forms that have never been exhibited before. Perhaps even more minimalistic than his previous works, we find them to be his best work yet. And his firings? Mihara-san has also tweaked his firing technique, and this has unlocked a new range of landscapes on his stoneware surfaces. For previews, please email us at info@toku-art.com.

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