Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

One does not normally know what to expect from modern art museums. Each season, each exhibition, fosters new emotions to the observer. In February 2020, I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo (MOT) to see what it had to offer. Here are some of the exhibits that caught my attention – and was allowed to photograph.

The building, designed by Takahiko Yanagisawa, seems light and fresh. In the entrance, there is a free to view poster exhibition, a supporting event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

A manga re-creation of the classical ‘Great Wave off Kanagawa’

The current MOT collection is titled ‘Present Day and in Times Past ― Multiple Perspectives’ and will be exhibited until 16 February 2020. It contains works of artists of the post-war era, thus why a lot of the exhibits induce feelings of sadness, desperation and chaos. Featured artists include Araki Takako, Okamoto Shinjiro, Yoko Ono, Kusama Yayoi, Shinkai Kakuo, Brenda V. Fajardo and others.

The pop-style creations of Okamoto focused a lot on the Japan-USA dual relationship. The WWII bombings are the core of his thematic work ‘Roly-Poly Cherry Blossoms’. Terror, war and conflicts are represented with vibrant colors and complex patterns, appearing not so scary but definitely making you uncomfortable.

The LED digit display of Miyajima Tatsuo was installed 20 years ago, but it constantly changes throughout the years due to non-deterministic faults on the screens. For Miyajima, ‘art’ is what ‘changes, connects, and continues’.

‘Keep changing, Connect with everything, Continue forever’

While Kusama Yayoi is famous for the vibrant red polka dots, her contributions in this exhibition were darker, as dark as war can be. The main palette was based on various shades of dark and grey. In the middle of the room dedicated to her, there was a silver boat created from dozens of pineapples and other everyday items.

The route along the collection ended on a pleasant note.

Yoko Ono, Word Pieces (2015), black pigment on 12 white canvases

The most popular exhibition at the moment is that of the fashion brand minä perhonen, titled ‘Tsuzuku’. The brand founder Akira Minagawa proposes clothes and items that are fit for the everyday life and are meant to last long. The brand focuses on interesting, eye-catching patterns that cover a garment from top to bottom. One of the most classical patterns of minä perhonen is the tambourine.

Although there are another two on-going exhibitions at the moment, I didn’t have time to visit them. If anyone suddenly became curious, here is the current schedule of the MOT exhibitions.

minä perhonen / minagawa akira TSUZUKUUntil Sun, 16 Feb, 2020
Dumb Type | Actions + ReflectionsUntil Sun, 16 Feb, 2020
MOT Annual 2019 Echo after Echo : Summoned Voices, New ShadowsUntil Sun, 16 Feb, 2020
Present Day and in Times Past ― Multiple PerspectivesUntil Sun, 16 Feb, 2020

Official website: https://www.mot-art-museum.jp/en/

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