Shibuya: Blue Tearoom in Dry Landscape Garden Folding Screen "Who By Art Vol. 2" (Seibu Shibuya Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2013) / Photography: Keisuke Inoue
Shibuya: Blue Tearoom in Dry Landscape Garden Folding Screen
Four panel folding screen
Cardboards picked up at Shibuya, empty cans, old newspaper, acrylic paint, others
For six months in 2010, Watanabe created a project with his artist friends and lived in Shibuya’s Miyashita Park with homeless people.
He slept and lived in the park, creating works with the homeless people and doing workshops. This was because he had heard that the government was planning to renovate the park to evict the homeless people. Eventually the government forcefully took down their blue tarp houses and completely evicted them.
Watanabe turned the often-overlooked issue of evicting poor people (with homeless people’s houses increasingly covered up by eviction and fences by the government), which happens in the same city as the luxury department store in Shibuya that commissioned his work, into his idea of “department store art” (which is decorative, conservative, and appropriately lavish) by mimicking a golden folding screen.
The part that looks like gold leaves is actually cardboard he collected in Shibuya. The four corners of decorated metal hardware use empty and cheap low-malt beer cans (some of the people earn their income partly through collecting empty cans.) The work plays with a kind of double entendre; the picture uses the karesansui, or dry landscape garden image, as a front, or an emulated philosophy, to depict a picture of blue tarp houses. It portrays the human presence and the lived-in feel that oozes out even when people try to look away.
[Past Exhibitions for Shibuya: Blue Tearoom in Dry Landscape Garden Folding Screen]
Installation view | Shibuya: Blue Tearoom in Dry Landscape Garden Folding
"Who By Art Vol. 2" (Seibu Ikebukuro Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2013)
Left | Shibuya: Blue Tearoom in Dry Landscape Garden (Circular Window)
/ Photography: Keisuke Inoue
Installation view: "Yosenabe Hot Pot" 2014/ Photography: Jin Koyama
Installation view: "STRAIGHT to the ______" (THE blank GALLERY, Tokyo, 2015)
[Production Support/ Setting]
Kaori Ichimura, Emi Onoda, Hiroyuki Kajima, Noboru Kamata, Masako Watanabe
littlefan Co., Ltd., Seibu Shibuya Art Gallery