Trans Arts Tokyo was a seventeen floor goliath of an art exhibition held all the way back in November and officially featuring the work of over 300 artists and many more who took the opportunity to participate in an unofficial manner. It was held in almost every room of a cavernous building that used to be part of the Tokyo Denki University, with precious regard for the building itself. Artists converted whole rooms into muddy Jomon era settlements, I witnessed a man laying waste to a wall with a sledgehammer, after the official closing time the parties began turning corridors into squats and people pitched tents wherever they fancied. In turn their rubbish became part of the art, the walls saturated with graffiti, the corridors played host to guerrilla fashion shows, and yet because this is still Tokyo, civilization still reigned and the atmosphere was as inclusive and safe as you could hope for.
There really was such a humbling amount of art work on display that we are going to have to focus on a couple of individual exhibitions separately in the coming days, including a fashion show by WrittenAfterwards assisted by Mikio Sakabe and a couple of other mind-blowing installations. For now I thought I would present a round-up of some of our personal favorite pieces in no particular order because with 300 plus rooms of art – where can you start?
Given the location and the ongoing nuclear energy concerns it was no surprise to see the theme of energy explored by many artists. This lumbering robot was inflated with air and teetered vulnerably as the air level fluctuated.
Oblivious on the back.
Entire floors were themed, this one had the Japanese horror squat vibe down to pat. The walls were daubed throughout with satanic symbols and there was even a man banging and screaming on the door of one room that no-one really wanted to go near.
Wherever you went you would bump into a performance or group talk. I accidentally walked in on a very literal “human flytrap” show I don’t think I am ever likely to forget…
One of my personal favorite pieces.
The AKB48 themed room, someone was sleeping in here when I passed through first time round.
Someone had planted a garden in one corridor – there is a sign out of shot that asks visitors to trample through it.
A lot of work was chaotic to say the least, but made for great exploration.
I loved this bedroom, not sure I would want to sleep here though.
The dissolving man.
The full-on squat effect, on the last day they held a karaoke party in here.
More traditional artwork that you might recognise if you are a fan of Galaxxxy, but on walls this time.
Or in this case painted live infront of a captive audience.
Some work doesn’t need comment, it is just Tokyo through and through.
What you are missing out on here is the soundtrack of distorted Smile Precure!
A shrine in a cabinet.
In this room you could challenge the owner to a game of your choosing.
With the general atmosphere of the place established we are going to take a closer look at some of our favorite designers and artists over the coming days – you will not be disappointed…