日本

you're strange and you're beautiful

Archive for February, 2010

Toshiaki Toyoda: the slow burn

Might seem a strange choice of tagline for a director with a police record for possessing stimulants. However, fans of Toshiaki Toyoda will know exactly what I mean.

Toyoda is a director who brings to mind slow-motion, didactic scene jumps, and achingly real-time story arcs. There is no falling back on ‘Japaneseness’ to snare either native or foreign markets, no glorification of the mundane, and he restrains from that common desire of directors to make his presence known on the screen. The man knows himself, knows his work, and simply sticks to it.

Hence the slow burn, a result of complete artistic confidence. His catalog errs on the side of quality rather than quantity, with just six films since he began writing and directing his own work in 1998. Personally, I have so far only seen Aoi Haru (Blue Spring) and 9 Souls, and read fan reviews of the others.

Read the rest of this entry »

Toshiko Tochihara exhibition at NYCoo Gallery

My first venture into the Japanese culture scene here in New York was an incredibly fortuitous one.

NYCoo gallery began in 2000 as a web gallery, and then as a physical space in Midtown Manhattan in 2004. I learned at the premier that the gallery’s work has surprised even long-time visitors, critically selecting artists and generating an incredibly diverse exhibition history (see their online gallery).

Their most recent location is Chelsea, in an elegant space arranged ideally for viewing work. Even during the bustling premier, everyone could talk and move comfortably. This was of major benefit in their current exhibition – Toshiko Tochihara – as the scale of each work was a major factor in how the audience related to them. In fact, there was so much anima within the deceptively raw paintings that I have to jump straight into my impressions as they occurred during my viewing.

Read the rest of this entry »

NYCoo gallery / Kinokuniya bookstore

I had an unexpectedly brilliant Friday, with a gallery exhibition and premier, plus my first visit to otaku-haven in NYC, Kinokuniya.

My review of Toshiko Tochihara‘s beautiful exhibition at the chic NYCoo Gallery is just waiting for the film to be processed and the pictures – hopefully – ready to give a sense of the atmosphere. The work on display caught my imagination so much and the atmosphere was so welcoming that the experience deserves a higher quality post than my usual. So, to be continued…

Read the rest of this entry »