Close Encounterslands in Tokyo

Adapta Gallery hitches its stars to Ebisu

‘Close Encounters’ lands in Tokyo

‘Close Encounters’, showing at the Time Out Café & Diner’s Gallery Space, may be a small show by the UK’s Adapta Gallery however the line-up of artists packs multi-faceted punch. Adapta have brought a selection of works from artists such as D*Face, David Bray, Best Ever, Cyclops, Matt Small, Vesna Parchet, Sickboy and Word to Mother to the Ebisu space in hopes of piquing interest in the contemporary British art scene.

‘We set the title as “Close Encounters” because it would be the first time many people here see this kind of 20th century and 21st century art, and we want to make an impact on the cultural relationship between the UK and Japan,’ says Haruka Irie of Adapta Gallery.

The exhibition’s main purpose is to be an initial showcase of a survey of artists that represent a cross section of current art. ‘The concept is that we basically wanted to introduce British urban art and street, about which many people in Japan don’t know. People aren’t familiar with D*Face, for example. Since this is the first ‘test’ exhibition, we want to be able to use this to open up a dialogue for future artists.

‘This time we brought eight different artists and everyone has a different style. Someone from street art, someone from graffiti, someone from fashion, animation, quite a mixture of artists, and we can see what sorts of styles catch Japan’s eyes for a second or third exhibition,’ Irie explains of the eclectic mix of punk and graffiti inflected pieces by D*Face, Cyclops and special guest Tristan Schoonraad, juxtaposed with lush illustrations by David Bray, mixed media by Vesna Parchet and the dream-like paintings of Best Ever.

Schoonraad’s ‘Boy Soldier’ unwittingly plays centrepiece to the exhibition, not only because it is quite literally at the centre of the gallery, but also as the impish face of the young boy holding a grenade disarms the observer and simultaneously puts them on the defensive.

The eclectic styles represented are reason enough to visit. ‘We didn’t want people to look at this show and say this is a street art show or an illustration show. It really is a mixture of UK contemporary art. David Bray has been working a lot with Agent Provocateur, TopShop and H&M and that type of fashion, and it seems that people like that; it’s rather accessible. It seems he’s got a wide-ranging audience, compared to some of the darker artists. D*Face has a really punk feel that seems to attract a lot of people’s eyes too.’ One artist of particular note, and the only female artist in the group, is Vesna Parchet. Born and raised in Tokyo until she was ten years old, Parchet has traveled extensively and counts culture and social diversity amongst her themes. The bold lines and open collage feel of her work brings a sense of otherworldly futurism to her images that falls in line with the exhibition’s opening gambit for a dialogue towards the future.

‘We really would like to see students, kids, who maybe are really interested in overseas culture and art but don’t really get much of chance to see it to come; we want to be a resource for them,’ comments Irie, riffing on Parchet’s themes of culture and diversity.

‘The UK art scene is really strong now; around 2007 and 2008 there was a big movement of urban and street art and a lot of the artists have started exhibiting overseas, and I think some countries and caught on in the wake of that stream of artists. For example, Hong Kong’s scene is really healthy now, the same as Japan, I hope. We want to be pioneers in bringing this kind of art to Japan,’ says Irie of Adapta’s plans to bring future exhibitions back to Tokyo.

‘Close Encounters’ Group Exhibiton in Tokyo

Location: Time Out Cafe & Diner Gallery Space
Date: Until Sun Nov 29
Address: LIQUIDROOM 2F, 3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5774 0440
Open: Mon-Thu 12noon- 11:30pm, Fri 12noon-5am, Sat-Sun 1pm-5am
Admission: FREE

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.



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