Compared to past editions of GEISAI, GEISAI #11 was significantly upgraded with lots of new approaches in many aspects. For example, GEISAI #11 boasted the largest number of exhibitors and the biggest scale in the history of GEISAI, and it was the first time that all of the invited jurists were from overseas. In addition, GEISAI #11 branched out by holding “The School Festival Executive Committee” in a separate venue. I bet there were a lot of people who were overwhelmed by the rows of booths running as far as the eye could see when they stepped in the exhibition hall, and the intensity of the events hosted simultaneously in various locations. In any case, the bigger GEISAI’s scale gets, the more you have opportunities to meet more talent. Here, I’ve picked up some of the artworks that I liked as I walked around the booths, while watching the huge screen that showed the lavish stage events, such as Yuzu’s secret live concert.
As I walked and looked around the 940 booths, it appeared that the exhibitors were more serious about the judging, and less in a festival mood than at previous GEISAI. There were noticeably more artworks whose themes were directly drawn from Japanese culture, such as high-school girls and eroticism, perhaps being conscious of the international jury, which I thought was memorable. At GEISAI#11, we were all amazed by the appearance of Little Akiba at “The School Festival Executive Committee” event, moved by Mr.’s first directorial film chock-full of the essence of Otaku culture, and surprised by so many visitors from overseas eagerly walking around the hall. I fully felt that the communicative power of art from Japan directed all over the world has continued to grow and shows no bounds.
- The Apple girl, who is an exhibitor from Gallery TACHIBI’s booth, caught my eyes once I entered the exhibition hall. She was popular among the visitors, too.
Another work from Gallery TACHIBI, by Senshi Shimauchi. They are made of pencils provided by a representative from Tachikawa Art School (Tachikawa Bijutsu Gakuin).
- Young high-school artists discovered from a collaboration project with the magazine “smart.” The second from left is Kensuke Ito, who had his own booth, too.
In this space, Leslie Kee shot photos of the visitors wearing Takashi Murakami’s decoration flowers.
- Ryoichi Yamazaki presented a series of paintings and objects featuring faint-hearted characters.
- In Yukari Asakura’s “Dull,” she painted layer upon layer of intricate detail. I couldn’t take my eyes off the work.
Sungil Yomu is a nice guy with a lovely smile that mirrors the image in his artwork.
- Ayumu Fushiguro sold his first piece soon after the door opened, which added greatly to his joy.
- I was totally crushed by this piece by Kyoko Nakamura, who won the coveted gold prize. It says “They are all Punks!!”
- Ukiyo-e (Japanese traditional prints) rendered in a real life style, a concept that one would expect to have existed in the past yet was never yet explored, was shocking. The artist is Chen Ching-Yao from Taiwan.
- Emi Harukusa’s “Aura,” expressed delicately in pastels.
- Anken Kidani’s “First Date” was so lovely and packed a great punch.