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There is an antique shop which is well known among the antique dealers - Setsu Gatodo. The late Iwao Setsu, who used to be the owner of the shop, has written a column on Geijutsu Shincho magazine for long. The column was collected and published into a beautiful book titled "Beauty of TANAGOKORO" (1996, out of print) afterward, and this book inspired us to come up with an exhibition titled "TANAGOKORO" - literally means "PALM". Japanese culture has a custom of appreciating artworks in hands. This may look odd to people who have different cultural backgrounds. It is very natural for us however, to treat the artworks directly using hands, especially for those who deal with antique market which is much larger than contemporary art market. One of the definite reason can be found in the process of its cultural origin. Western fine art is rooted in its iconic background of art, while Japanese fine art finds its root in decorating handcrafted tools. Also, Japanese people has strong admiration for such tiny, palm - sized artworks. Tea equipment for the Tea Ceremony and Netsuke*(1) are the symbols of those tiny artworks. To see in a wider context, the aesthetic of minimalism which Bonsai*(2) and Haiku*(3) connote, is the culture peculiar to Japan, combined with our characteristic that is being very dexterous.
Based on this aesthetic, Roentgenwerke AG has held the 1st "TANAGOKORO" exhibition on March 1997, featuring 8 artists - Motohiko ODANI, Izuru KASAHARA, Isao SATO, Taro SHINODA, Yoshihiro SUDA, Tetsuya NAKAMURA and Daisuke NAYAMA. This exhibition did not restrict the form of the artworks except the size. We expected the success of the exhibition by focusing on small yet remarkable artworks. From this first exhibition, "TANAGOKORO" has been held seven times as of now (last being on October 2002), at different art fairs and other venues. The top artists such as Shinji OGAWA, Takashi MURAKAMI, Kenji YANOBE and Akira YAMAGUCHI were some of the exhibitors.
Since the end of 2002 to the beginning of 2003, an exhibition titled "108" was held at the Ise Foundation in New York, based on the concept of "TANAGOKORO". At this exhibition, the tiny, beautiful artworks in 10.8 x 10.8 cm acrylic cases were intentionally displayed just above the floor level, to strengthen the small size. Its review was written on The New York Times, and as a result, it became a success, gathering more than 500 people at the closing party.
Since then, we unleash the concept of "TANAGOKORO" after five years, as a gentle warning against the too expanded art scene and artworks now.
*(1) Netsuke are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th century Japan to store the personal belongings such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.
*(2) Bonsai is the art of aesthetic miniaturization of trees by growing them in containers. Cultivation includes techniques for shaping, watering, and repotting in various styles of containers.
*(3) Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, considering of 17 Japanese on (a phonetic unit), in three metrical phrases of 5, 7 and 5 on respectively, and typically containing a seasonal reference.
*(1) , *(2) and *(3) are quotations from Wikipedia.
Katsuyo AOKI, Shinichiro ARAKAWA, Seiji ARUGA, Teruaki FUCHISAWA, Ai FUJIYOSHI, Chikako HASEGAWA, Yusuke ISHIKAWA, Kazuhiro ITO, Toshihiko IWATA, Koichiro KUTSUNA, Hideki KUWAJIMA, Tomoaki MARUBASHI, Shigeyuki MIZUNO, Hideto NAGATSUKA, Ryosuke OGINO, Ryuichi OHIRA, Yoshihiko SATOH, Hiebie SODA, Akiko & Masako, TAKADA, Satoshi UCHIUMI, Motoi YAMAMOTO, Shuji YAMAMOTO
* The text was provided by Roentgenwerke AG.