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My Short Films

Friday, July 10, 2009

The BEAUTIFIED TABOO art exhibition

I brought Steven to the BEAUTIFIED TABOO art exhibition at SuperDeluxe in Roppongi last night. The BEAUTIFIED TABOO, in its second year, is the brainchild of Tokyo-based German/Vietnamese artist Vivienne U.H. Doan. Let me quote its origins from a Japan Times article.

(The BEAUTIFIED TABOO) is an exhibition showcasing works by some of Tokyo's better-known experimental and international artists that attempts to investigate, as well as beautify, taboos.

Doan got the idea when she started to question both Japanese and foreign people on what they felt was taboo. Intrigued by the variety of answers and feelings she encountered, she took the ideas and "beautified" them, adding an artist's perspective to socially explosive concepts. Naturally, ideas relating to the human body, sex, violence and death are well represented.


Here's a list of the featured artists for this year's exhibition:

  • Alexis Alvarez (Photography, US)
  • Richard Boase (Visual Art, UK)
  • Ed Fox (Photography, US)
  • Florencia Guerberof (Video Performance, ARG)
  • Ryan Hale (Photography, US)
  • Yu Hokazono (Photography, JP),
  • Kawori Inbe (Photography, JP)
  • Jun Kitagawa (Live Painting, JP)
  • Catalina Madrinan (Sculpture/Painting, CO)
  • skinni pants (Fashion Installation, US/JP)
  • Massimilliano Schilliro (Photo Installation, IT)
  • Emmi Venna (Live Installation, FIN)
  • + "The 13th Artist" (Illustration, GER)


I managed to snap a couple of photos, and shot some videos from it, but I try not to reproduce, or reveal too much of the things I saw at the exhibition, as I understand (and sort of relate to) how artists feel about these things.

And thus I attempt to preserve the mystique of the exhibition by, ah, keeping it mysterious.

This young lady in a yukata is Reiko, she was sitting next to me. We played quick draw to see who managed to snap the photo of the other quicker.

Photo of Reiko in the yukata taking photo of me


After that, the Japanese avant-garde female dance duo 86B210 performed onstage. They were totally avant-garde.

One of the members from the dance troupe 86B210 performing

both members from the dance troupe 86B210 performing


Occasionally, the Finnish artist Emma Venna would appear for her live installation, dancing her slow hypnotic dance that coincided with the theme of the exhibition. Later when I speak to her she told me the imagination in her mind were restless when she danced, a product of improvisation based on what she saw, the people, the place, whatever was happening, whatever that popped out in her mind. Beauty that could sometimes be interpreted as ugliness, or ugliness that would sometimes be interpreted as beauty.

Emma Venna's live installation


I thought I would introduce her to my Finnish friend Niklas, it would be great to allow her a reunion with one of her countrymen.

Photographer Kawori Inbe exhibited her take on the fetishism attached to high-school uniforms in Japan.

I managed to speak to Kaori, one of the models from her photography project. We had an intellectual discussion in philosophy and literature, when the conversation veered to my two recent adaptations of Yasunari Kawabata's works (that would be my short films. LOVE SUICIDES, which is having its world premiere at the Paris Cinema International Film Festival on this very day, and KINGYO) she told me her favourite writer is Yukio Mishima. We share a love for Jun'ichirĊ Tanizaki (I said I loved NAOMI and THE KEY, she told me that I must read his masterpiece, THE MAKIOKA SISTERS), and also slight indifference towards the more contemporary Japanese writers.

When the exhibition ended, I took a photo of her and another model, Mayuri, taking photos of the photos they modelled for.

Photo of Kaori and Mayuri taking photos of the photos they modelled for


They also posed for my photo of them posing in front of the photos they posed for Photographer Kawori Inbe.

Me taking photos of Mayuri and Kaori standing before the photos they modelled for


(Kaori posed for the third photo from the right, Mayuri was the one in the second photo from the right)

After that I took a photo of photographer Kawori Inbe taking photos of her two pretty models standing in front of the photos they modelled for.

Photo of photographer Kawori Inbe taking photos of her two models in front of the photos they modelled for


As I snapped the photo, I wondered whether there were anyone taking a photo of me taking a photo of photographer Kawori Inbe taking a photo of her two models standing in front of the photos they modelled for?

Very meta, I thought. Then my head ached a little.
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