Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Room-2260 and 2068"

All spaces have some kind of atmosphere - typically it's not readily apparent, but if you stop and take a good look/listen/feel to a room, usually you will perceive something - and sometimes a lot.  I must mention this, because the SBS-268 Building is more atmospheric than most, and has a great diversity of atmosphere's in its various rooms.

And so we come back to Room-2260 - a gallery whose owner runs it with a combination of professionalism and artistic sense.  Each week... well, *most* weeks, there's a different exhibition there, although the owner has been busy lately with other things, and has been taking more time away from the time demands of 2260.

Art exhibitions is in Tokyo usually last for six days, opening on Monday, and closing on Saturday.  A handful of galleries go from Thursday to Tuesday though, and the art world being the art world, there are nearly infinite variations on the exact timing of exhibitions as well as their length.  I've seen art exhibitions in Tokyo that were for from one day to thirty, and for various amounts of time (per day), although from 11:00 a.m. Until 7:00 p.m. Is the most common.

Hmm... so much general background!  Well, we'll get rolling with specific incidents as we go!  Until then, allow me to introduce another room - Room-2068, which requires some more general background information.

Group exhibitions.  Sooner or later, most galleries (not the art dealers masquerading as galleries, but the real art galleries) have a certain amount of group exhibitions, from once-in-a-blue-moon to nearly every single exhibition.  Room-2068 also has a mix of single-artist and group exhibitions, and during one of my early visits to the SBS-268 Building, I was invited into Room 2068 during a group exhibition, and while looking over the art, one of the artists and the gallery owner invited me to sit down and have a drink with them (in the gallery).  It was unexpected (newcomer to the gallery scene that I was), but welcome, so I accepted the offer, and we had a good time talking about various things, with - naturally - art being the central theme.

After having a good time in the gallery for... was it one hour? Two? Three?  Time is timeless in that building, making it hard to say how long it was, but after a while, the artist invited the owner and I to come with her to a club on the Shinbashi side of Ginza.  It sounded like fun, so off we went, and a good time was had by all - ho-ho!

Don't get your imagination too worked up though - we had a good time *talking*, just talking.  But the backdrop to an evening out with people is a vital part of the overall picture, and there's a kind of historical magic to the back streets of Ginza - under constant threat and constantly diminishing via the Godzilla construction monster (GCM), but still there, provided you know where to go.

It's a real concern though - atmospheric areas that get that way over decades and are much beloved by the inhabitants of the city, are falling to the GCI at an alarming/dismaying pace, typically replaced with sealed-box recirculating (read stale) air towers full of soulless "brand" items marketed at high prices.  Nothing - nothing is more important than short-term profits it seems.

But I digress... I suppose I'm over-stating my case a little.  Friends from Europe that I take around Tokyo are invariably not impressed with any old structure in Japan not made of wood, and typically say that they envy Tokyo's constant renewal - saying that buildings in the cities of Europe are overprotected.

But this isn't Europe, this is Tokyo, and it seems to many residents of this megacity that *some* post-Edo-era, pre-2014 buildings of interest should be preserved.  One reason being contrast.  An entire city of gleaming monotonous newness would be a boring, shallow place.  Digressing again...  Okay - enough for today then!


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