Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art

Digital art under a new light.

By Alma Reyes
August 4, 2022
Art & Culture

Tokyo Art Scene is a biweekly report on ongoing art and design exhibitions around Tokyo. It features event listings for architecture, art, ceramics, design, fashion, fine arts, photography and print (both the modern and the traditional) as well as digitally-themed presentations.

The history of digital art can be traced back to the 1980s. As technology continues to advance alongside the Internet, the meaning of art has evolved and altered our breadth of visual perception. For the following exhibits, we’ll go on a journey of seeing the different ongoing computer-generated art exhibitions at Teien Metropolitan Art Museum, GMO Digital Museum and Ginza 456.

Mika Ninagawa: A Garden of Flickering Lights

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
Exhibition streamer

Mika Ninagawa is a contemporary photographer who has also been active in the film industry. Her exhibitions have toured internationally, especially in China and Taiwan. She published a photo book for Rizzoli in New York in 2010 and has garnered numerous awards for her unique approach to image expression.

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
Great Dining Hall gallery view.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum is presenting “Mika Ninagawa: A Garden of Flickering Lights” until September 4. The exhibition features Ninagawa’s specially selected plant photographs and video works from 2021 to 2022, taken over the course of the pandemic. Known for her singular sense of color and close-up focus on the fragility and delicacy of plants and flowers, she projects her photographs with a more crystalline aura that sheds shimmering light and soft hues.

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum
Ninagawa, Mika. Venue scenery, “Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design 5th Anniversary Mika Ninagawa Exhibition.” 2022

The beautiful presentation of seasonal flora captured from various landscapes of Japan blends perfectly with the museum garden and classical furniture indoors, as though the exterior and interior spaces become one.

Moreover, visitors walk through a room of dynamic video projections on huge screen panels, flickering with an exuberantly colorful nature that seems to come to life. Magnified butterflies and insects perch gleefully on pollen and dainty petals sway dreamily against the sky and sun. The large-scale images make one feel almost metaphysically hypnotized in a utopian experience wrapped between realism and fiction. What a refreshing time to immerse in a garden of summer blossoms!

Now through Sep. 4, 2022
Daily except for Mon (except when Mon is a holiday, then the following Tue is closed) from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
5-21-9 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo - Map
Access: Meguro station East exit on JR Yamanote line, and Main Gate on Meguro line; Shirokanedai station Exit 1 on Toei Mita and Namboku lines.

Banksy Artworks from Masatoshi Kumagai Collection

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by GMO Internet Group
GMO Digital Museum entrance

GMO Digital Museum in Shibuya Fukuras is a project by GMO Internet Group that was launched in September 2021. Representative Masatoshi Kumagai aimed to install “an environment where all people can freely appreciate and create opportunities to experience real art.” He further adds that the gallery space may be limited, but the scale of information is wide-ranging.

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by Alma Reyes
Banksy. “Angel with Skull” movie scene.

For the first museum exhibit, the museum has chosen one of the world’s most celebrated and controversial artists, Banksy. In “Banksy Artworks from Masatoshi Kumagai Collection” (ongoing with no definite closing date), the gallery space uses special high-definition effects and the latest sound technology to document some of Banksy’s most famous works over the years in a ten-minute video. For Banksy fans who have witnessed the artist’s several shows around Japan, the showcase at this museum is rather exceptional for instilling an extraordinarily intimate connection with the artist as his works flash in proximity and speed on three large screens.

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by Alma Reyes
Banksy. “Bomb Love Over Radar” movie scene.

Three major works are highlighted, which can be viewed after watching the video: “Girl with Balloon,” “Bomb Love Over Radar” and “Bomb Throwing Mob.” “Girl with Balloon” is one of the 150 pieces produced in 2004 and is set in a reproduction of the same picture frame with the shredder case that controversially appeared at the Sotheby’s auction held in London in 2018.

“Bomb Love Over Radar” is a rare piece showing a red radar mark added to “Bomb Love.” It makes its first public release and the first exhibition in the world.

As the number of visitors per show is strictly controlled, the compact experience feels like a private viewing from your own home.

Now through indefinitely
Daily from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
GMO Digital Hachiko, Shibuya Fukuras 2F, 1-2-3 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - Map
¥300 (Online reservation required)
Access: Shibuya station on JR Yamanote, JR Saikyo, Tokyu Toyoko, Tokyu Den-en-toshi, Keio Inokashira, Ginza, and Hanzomon lines

Negai Tsunagu Hoshizora

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by Alma Reyes
Ginza 456 Entrance.

Japanese telecommunications company, KDDI has engaged in the entertainment field with its “Braintech” technology. This kind of technology combines brain science and IT in expanding music and video content for the customers’ enjoyment. At Ginza 456 located inside the Yamano Music building, situated along Ginza’s main shopping street Chuo Dori, an exhibition space offers visitors an immersive experience infusing art, sounds, lights and images.

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by Alma Reyes
Exhibition hall view.

Running through August 31, the Ginza 456 Tsunagu (Connection) Project is showing “Negai Tsunagu Hoshizora” (“Wishes in a Starry Sky”) on the basement floor. Based on KDDI’s concept of “Tomorrow, Together,” the showcase adopts Braintech to configure a moving galaxy of “stars of wishes,” meteor showers and stardust creating ripples on the floor’s water-like surface.

Visitors input their wishes and favorite stars on a smartphone application, which are then projected onto the screens. The stars’ colors and shapes can be customized according to the frequencies of electroencephalogram brain waves. Stars become round when theta waves are strong or change to warm colors when gamma waves are intense. Being able to create your own star from more than 250 design patterns serves as the exciting highlight of the exhibition. One seems to float among the shooting stars and kaleidoscope of sparkling beams and colors. A maximum of eight people can participate at one time, thus, providing ample space to move around and cherish the virtual atmosphere fully.

Tokyo Art Scene: Digital Art© Photo by Alma Reyes
Exhibition simulation scene.

The building entrance is decorated with white bamboo grass, the symbol of the Tanabata summer festival. A moon-shaped bench with a moon motif in the background is also set up for photo taking.

Visitors can also check out KDDI’s latest 5G smartphones and accessories on the first floor, and the latest product line on the second floor.

Now through Aug. 31, 2022
Daily from 10:30 a.m. - 7:15 p.m.
4-5-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo - Map
Free (Online reservation required)
Access: Ginza station Exit A9 on Ginza, Hibiya and Marunouchi lines

While staying indoors surrounded by virtual art may be an ideal way to escape the blazing summer heat, a leisurely stroll around Shirokanedai, Shibuya and Ginza also make for a delightful weekend break. Explore Teien Metropolitan Art Museum’s sprawling gardens and teahouse, and have a shopping and gastronomic treat in the best shops and restaurants in Shibuya and Ginza.

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