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Written by Takeshi HIRATA   
Published: October 05 2009

    Recently, we have seen many art fairs which are held utilizing hotel rooms as their venues. The art event entitled “KOMAZAWA MUSEUM × ART” which was held at one of the biggest housing exhibition halls in Tokyo, Komazawa Park Housing Gallery, is a unique attempt to allow us easily to imagine our lives surrounded by artworks. It does this by using model houses instead of hotels since the former resemble living spaces more closely.
    It is still fresh in our minds that “Yokohama Art & Home Collection”,*1 which was held in November 2008, attracted public attention as Japan’s first exhibition and art event using a housing show space as its venue. Though it was held for only two days the event attracted a great deal of interest in that it was co-held with Yokohama Triennale 2008 and supervised by Yokohama Museum of Art.
    Under the plan proposed by the art coordinator, Yasuko Ichikawa, one of the largest housing galleries in Japan was prepared as the venue of this subsequent exhibition, “KOMAZAWA MUSEUM × ART”. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that there were a number of difficulties with this exhibition because of their fresh attempts for example only a small amount of information was provided through public relations, some exhibits were removed from the venue during the exhibition period, and there were some changes in the location of displayed exhibits. I look forward to seeing a smoother collaboration among exhibition organizers, housing suppliers and artists in the near future based on the interesting plan of this exhibition, which showed great potential

fig. 1 Tomoko HASHIMOTO "Sunday Morning" (2009); oil on μ-ground and panel, 14.2x7.9, 5.3x10.8, 10.7x9, 11.2x15.2, 11.4x15.6, 18.9x8.2cm "rain / fine" (2009); oil on cotton cloth, white ground, and panel, 91×91cm Photo by Hideto NAGATSUKA, courtesy of Tomoko HASHIMOTO, copyright © Tomoko HASHIMOTO

fig. 2 Tomoko HASHIMOTO "rain / fine" (2009); oil on cotton cloth, white ground, and panel, 116.7×116.7cm Photo by Hideto NAGATSUKA, courtesy of Tomoko HASHIMOTO, copyright © Tomoko HASHIMOTO

    By the way, what I felt after visiting a number of model houses in this exhibition was that paintings suited the atmosphere of the rooms better than photographs and images, as if they had been there for a long time. Paintings went well with the sunlight shining through the windows. There were some high-quality exhibits, including those of Satoshi Uchiumi and Masako Nakahira, but, here I would like to pick up other artists’ creations shown in the following three houses. Firstly, STAGE 3-4, in which we could enjoy looking at works created by Ine Izumi (Kon Izumi), Tomoko Hashimoto [fig. 1 and fig. 2] and Izuru Kasahara, and which was filled with a friendly and warm atmosphere.
    Hashimoto’s creations seemed to utilize the characteristics of a model house more effectively than any of the other exhibitors’ works. She has been known for creating an exhibition space which produces robust and deep impressions generated by using classical techniques. Nonetheless, for this exhibition, she created new exhibits to ensure they were suitable to be shown in the living rooms in which there were vaulted ceilings, and thus she succeeded in giving us a complete image of the living spaces. In addition, there were many other spaces in the STAGE 3-4, such as toilets and Japanese-style rooms, which were designed ingeniously to provide us, the visitors, with spaces in which we could encounter paintings. We felt as if our bodies were being purified, just like taking a deep breath, by realizing that the “air” in these spaces had been generated by the power of the paintings. This means that we were welcomed by the paintings. I never imagined that I would receive such warm hospitality in model houses where there were no owners.

    Secondly, in the STAGE 2-3, Kazuharu Ishikawa’s planar works, which were created using wool, generated a heartwarming atmosphere, and Yoshitaka Nanjo’s paintings drawn with soil evoked for us a tense feeling in the space. Their exhibits produced synergetic effects in some parts of the dwelling space.
Thirdly, in the STAGE 2-6, a pneumatic vacuum elevator which looked like a part of a film set used in a sci-fi movie showed its stylish presence. The exhibition space surrounding the elevator, which was dotted with paintings by Junji Yamada and Go Asa, gave me a neo-futuristic impression. This kind of effect could be generated only by making full use of the characteristics of this model house.

    There is a similarity between housing and art. For both of them, foundation work is important and “heart” is essential for creating them. In a space where a person lives and which is close to his/her heart, art can exist as if it snuggles up to the “heart”. This is the reason only art can pull our heartstrings realistically in a model house where all the items are artificial things.
Leaving the model houses with their warm “hearts”, I went home.
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

Yokohama Art & Home Collection, Yokohama Home Collection (located next to Yokohama Museum of Art), 28/Nov/2008-29/Nov/2008
Last Updated on November 03 2015

Editor's Note by Takeshi HIRATA

The venue is divided into three parts, from “STAGE 1” to “STAGE 3”, on the other side of Komazawa Street. Nonetheless, not all the model houses are used for displaying the exhibits. In addition, there have been some changes in the exhibitors, the exhibits, and the duration of the exhibition. Therefore, I recommend that you stop at the information center before enjoying the exhibition and get a copy of the brochure in which you will find a summary of the exhibition, information of the exhibitors, and a guide map of this event. Among the various exhibits, the creations made by Ine Izumi (Kon Izumi), Tomoko Hashimoto and Izuru Kasahara, which are displayed on STAGES 3 and 4, and those created by Kazuharu Ishikawa and Yoshitaka Nanjo, which are shown on STAGES 2 and 3, seemed to receive a warm “welcome” from the viewers. Tomoko Hashimoto’s works in particular will give you the most successful example of co-existence of paintings and living space in that she newly created some of the exhibits to ensure they were suitable for display in this exhibition space. (Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

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