Get away to art without the scene at BEAMS,

the place to be!! Big Escape from Arty Museum Show!

Shiro MASUYAMA

 
 

In Japan, fine art is less popular than other art genres. Many Japanese people find it difficult to justify contemporary art and the majority think that the intentions of modern artists are as ‘clear as mud’. In comparison to Western, industrialized countries, it is obvious that Japanese people disregard fine art. In response, I produced an art exhibition at a popular fashion store BEAMS JAPAN to satirize the situation in Japan.


The theme of the exhibit draws on ‘attendance’ for contemporary art exhibitions. Utilizing the powerful advertisements of BEAMS, I orchestrated various ways to draw people to the exhibition by creating elaborate invitation cards. As an artist I would normally do my best to entice visitors to my exhibitions; however I would obviously struggle to attract the number of customers who came to popular fashion store such as BEAMS. Reversing this idea, I aimed to exploit the fashion store's ability to draw in the public on a large scale and re-appropriated their coersive strategies in order to expose the public to my artwork.


I created eight different colored invitation cards based on who would potentially receive them:



1.Artists

2.Curators, Gallerists

3.Critics, Writers

4.Collectors, Art Lovers

5. Media representatives

6.Designers, Illustrators, Architects

7.Students

8.BEAMS's networked customers


The most important part of the exhibition was the performance on the opening night. The artist, Shiro Masuyama stayed in a shop-window on the second floor of the BEAMS JAPAN building and other staff checked the invitation cards at the entrance on the first floor. Masuyama counted the number of people attending, categorizing them by checking the colour of invitations and using nine traffic-census-counters. These analog numbers were transferred into a digital data which interacted with an animation projected on the gallery wall in BEAMS.


The animation started when the attendance of people without cards reached the number ten. The animation set up a group tour where the public were invited to a ‘miracle world’ invented by Shiro Masuyama. This world resembles a computer game with dark humour; where audience members are distinguished as either art people or public people and the latter are destroyed by simulated enemies. Therefore the game played with binary oppositions - with the public who hold no interest in art and the people involved with the art circuit. If the number of the public was greater than the art people, the public can enjoy and pursue the tour until the end. But if the number of the art people is greater, the public people would be all killed and the game would be over in the middle of the tour. Since the majority of the customers visiting BEAMS were from the video game generation, this experimental project aimed to draw their attention by utilizing a medium they were familiar with.


In the gallery, the main installation involved a projection of the animation as well as two video monitors projecting the live-image of analogue counters set in the show window alongside images of the invitation cards. It was clear that all of projected images related to each other by purposefully organizing the installations.


BEAMS JAPAN, Tokyo, Japan

November 2005


Photo 1: Yasunori TANIOKA

Animation: STEQI