Tomokazu Matsuyama

On the days I’m working, I like to take mini walks often going around streets nearby my workplace, even ending up in gardens and parks on the outskirts of the CBD. Of course, there’s plenty of different routes around the city and last week I felt like pacing through Collins St for some window shopping therapy.

That wasn’t the case as soon as I saw a colorful corflute sign in front of 101 Collins St, “Outside looking in Tomokazu Matsuyama”. The entrance to the artists’ exhibition was via Flinders Lane so I took a shortcut through an alley to get to the other side. It’s a nice office building with lots of space – enough to accommodate a peaceful cafe right opposite the gallery.

Lesley Kehoe Galleries hosted the exhibition and specializes in selling art with a focus on exhibiting Japanese works. It’s an awesome space designed to be timeless with interiors reflecting Japanese aesthetic. It feels cinematic when you walk through a short hallway and not too long after you’re presented with a spacious exhibition room.

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Thanks to the colorful corflute signage on the walkway,  I’m glad I knew about Tomokazu Matsuyama now than later. A New York based Japanese artist, he works in the comfort of his own space in Brooklyn where he has his own freedom to explore combining East and West imagery but is particularly influenced by his Japanese heritage. Some of his works reminded me of KAWS – only that it’s more detailed and geometric – the colours show up vibrantly.

Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow

In my last post featuring a video of my trip, you’ll notice some of the footage was taken at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Gallery of Singapore.

I sign up to a lot of art and design news and thankfully one source told me some of Kusama’s pieces have landed in Singapore. Just like the KAWS exhibition, the trip was mildly planned around this given that we flew with Singapore Airlines, Mom suggested to stop by Singapore for a couple of days. We do love visiting Singapore every now and then especially since their airport is so accommodating and the city is usually our main stopover to Jakarta.

I first heard about Yayoi Kusama when I saw a Louis Vuitton shopfront a couple of years ago. She collaborated with LV and this is what it looked like (courtesy of Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama): yellow-dots red-dots black-dotsgeorge-clooneyrei

Yep that’s George Clooney for the cover of W magazine and yep, that’s Yayoi in her trademark polka dot outfit. It is considered as one of the most successful art collaborations with a fashion house. The dots however aren’t seen as completely a playful pattern. Kusama says these dots are a representation of her childhood hallucinations where she constantly experienced reoccurring visions of repeating patterns during the events of World War II. Her work can be seen as a means of therapy for Kusama and even for viewers – a therapy of confronting a fear by representing it on a grand scale.

She spent lots of time hand painting polka dots or “infinite nets” as she refers them to in her life. They applied them onto canvasses, sculptures and then onto everything else that was a part of her life, even her body. Kusama’s family had their own plant nursery and she drew pumpkins and flowers with dots. She is literally the queen of polka dots.
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I’m a fan of polka dots (not to the extremities of Kusama) so I was eventually lured into Louis Vuitton that day. I was fascinated by their shop design and their new range of leather-goods. It was like walking into an art installation, learning more about who Yayoi Kusama was.

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The Yayoi cake in the cafeteria after the exhibition!

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My current read is “Yayoi Kusama: Inventing the Singular” by lecturer, Midori Yamamura. A great read if you want to dig deep into Kusama’s life events, many of which affected the art she’s created to date. 

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A short trip to China & Singapore

Ever since I got back from our 11-day trip, I’ve been coughing out phlegm and using up boxes of tissues. I’m not sure how it happened but maybe it’s the lack of water I had overseas, or being overly tired from the heat and our hectic schedules. I figured the best remedy would be to read, rest in bed and make another holiday video.

Such a short trip, it’s hard to believe some of the footage here were recorded just a few days ago.

I’ve updated my travel gallery with a few more photos (also some from the last Japan trip). View it here.

A right-brainer by day and occasional blogger by night, you've landed on a place where I live and breathe all things art, design, culture and fashion. You'll find me documenting my life in the creative field, endless travels with friends and family and a bit of food.

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