This spring, the 3331 ART FAIR welcomed its 9th year running. Under the ever-changing situation surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus, the organizers faced the unprecedented challenge of holding a fair while maintaining strict precautions for visitors' health and safety. Following a system of restricted reservation-only entry along with shortened hours, the art fair was successfully held for the planned five days between March 18 to March 22. Together with 3331 staff and participating artists, AIR 3331 residents overcame obstacles to bring their most current artworks to the fair venue.
For this year's fair, AIR 3331 held two exhibitions inside 3331 - "SPRING WALK" in the Studio & Gallery IN 3331, and "AIR 3331 Project Space" in Room 313. "SPRING WALK" was an exhibition of soft sculptures created in the studio during a one-month residency by Chien-Chin (Susan) Liu from Taiwan. Inspired by the silhouettes of women in Kimonos she witnessed in Ginza, Susan picked up patterns and textures to be incorporated into her expression of a visual language crossing Japanese, Chinese, and Western aesthetics. Susan commuted daily to the studio, focusing solely on production during her residency. She completed an impressive body of work comprised of five sculptures, hung on the walls to be enjoyed multi-dimensionally, from the lines of fabrics, curving shapes, contrast of colors and gradation, to the patterns of shadows appearing as subtle layers underneath.
"AIR 3331 Project Space" held in Room 313 served as an experimental space for residents working at the Iwamotocho Residence just 20 minutes away and situated at the corner of Akihabara, housing both studios and accommodation. The two artists - Aurelie Crisetig from Switzerland and Paula Menchen based in Spain - used Room 313 as their own canvas, bringing in their works to be displayed in creative ways.
▼Aurelie installing her work inside Room 313
Aurelie devised an installation of her 47 embroidered polaroid photos placed on a transparent acrylic sheet, which was hung in the room to appear floating in the center. The front revealed careful neon embroidery on polaroids of electric wires that permeate the cityscape. When visitors circulated to the other side, they were met with a surprise revealing the dark backs of each polaroid lined with the bright embroidery - images that Aurelie describes as "an imaginary map of constellations". There were two sides to her vision of urban Tokyo gathered from her 3-month residency, one grounded in reality and the other forming an abstract universe for us to ponder.
For the display of her works created during a 1-month residency, Paula added parts to the structure of the room to complement their multi-media format. While two-dimensional, she placed a number of works on hand-made supports, allowing them to protrude from the wall dynamically into the viewer's space. This way, one could fully enjoy the three-dimensional texture and transparency of Japanese-inspired patterning on Washi paper. Other works were displayed on pieced together cardboard to create an appearance of a collage with contrasting whites of paper unveiling colorful shapes, patterns, and layers that completely transform the surface and the various media used. While working across drawing, printmaking, and painting, Paula fused these into new and harmonious imagery where we no longer recognize any single medium as they were.
▼Top: Works extended from the wall / Bottom: Cardboard backdrop revealing colorful multi-media works
Despite the uncertainty building up in Tokyo this spring, Susan, Aurelie, and Paula continued to tackle their projects, both in the studio and outside making observations throughout the city in places they could still access. Their enduring efforts and belief in their role as artists, especially in challenging times, led to the full realization of their exhibitions - a vital part of our art fair's mission to not halt the expressions of artists. Following the fair, Aurelie and Paula had planned an open studio event in Iwamotocho yet were forced to cancel, since by the end of March the city was gearing toward its declaration of national emergency. Although their final event could not take place, the 3331 team honors the lengths residents went through to become part of our fair that celebrates the energy of today's artists. Susan, Aurelie, and Paula were able to safely return to their home countries, where they continue to engage in their artistic activities, ever more so in these difficult times.
▼Susan's latest soft sculpture made with Lycra fabric and white spheres transforms the concept of French painter Pierre Soulanges into a three-dimensional representation.
▼Aurelie's most recent digital topography series, "'This belongs to everyone, so enjoy the view", pieces Google Earth images into a patchwork of sceneries spanning space and time, as well as physical and digital worlds
▼A mixed media collage and encaustic piece Paula created after returning to Spain using katazome & orizome paper dying techniques on Washi
(Paula was recently featured in Curator Space: https://www.curatorspace.com/about/news/paula-menchen-natural-layers--raw-materials/90)
Create your own project in Tokyo!
AIR 3331 OPEN CALL is now accepting.
Deadline: August 21, 2020 (*extended)
Residencies between: September 21 (Mon), 2020 - February 28 (Mon), 2022
Apply here >>> http://bit.ly/2Yt3CwW