GEISAI#12 Photo Report

As if oblivious to the global economic meltdown, GEISAI#12 once again opened the Spring with a rush of energy! After last year’s filled to the brim large scale extravaganza, the most ambitious GEISAI to date, this year featured far less in flashy staging and impressed me as a much simpler affair. Still, among those familiar with past GEISAI events, the down to earth feel was actually welcomed by many. Guests had plenty of time to tour and enjoy the different booths, and I received several comments that the works themselves seemed to have reached a new level of overall quality! For certain, the energy of these brave exhibitors, as they refuse to allow themselves to be limited by the bubble and its aftermath, is felt with force in each piece. Having completed its mission to elevate the Japanese art scene and also having built, in many ways, a new era, perhaps now is the time for GEISAI to return to its roots and reorient itself for the next stage of its development. Here we will take a moment to introduce to you to some standouts from the many powerful booths.

  • “Hareke” from Entrant A-043 Sayo Uenno is a lascivious, surreal Japanese microcosm. All of the artist’s sophisticated wood carvings sported a high level of perfection.
  • A booth entitled “Boku no Sekai” (My World) by this festival’s youngest participant, Entrant A-110 ATSU. The piece on the left is called “Dai Fukyou (The Big Bust)”, while the one on the right is called “Kyuseishu (Savior)”. He seems to really enjoy creating and was most dignified in the way he greeted guests at his booth.
  • Entrant A-186 red presented their take on racial prejudice through a series of sketches. With the number of performance pieces decreasing every year, they really stood out.
  • Entrant B-007 Huang Pei Ying used cardboard boxes to create this piece called “欲望魔髪”
  • Entrant B-016 Terunuma Fareeza‘s booth was so popular that the surrounding area felt like a photo shoot. The booth next store, Hiroki Azami’s Zero Aka (Year Zero Academic) Dojo, also received a lot of attention.
  • Entrant C-040 Izuo. The style here could be compared to the famous Japanese novel and movie “Inugamike no Ichizoku (The Inugami Family)”. There were photos of uninhabited villages, models of houses where murders have occurred, and while it’s obviously a bit frightening, the artist strikes an impressive balance between horror and humorous cos-play.
  • These fascinating sculptures were made by Entrant B-092 kon matsuyama.
  • B-095 Shibatsuji Masato exhibited “Human Dog Show”.
  • Booth B-098 belonged to the hunter of unidentified mysterious animals, girl’s high school student Unabara Nesuko (a pun on Loch Ness). The artist sold packaged seafood like “Loch Ness Monster fin”. Here we find the mythical snake tsuchinoko on sale for 400 yen.
  • The motif that stood out the most this year was, without a doubt, sweets! Here is Entrant B-130 mi_shimashima. These items, while made from sweets, were also fun to wear.
  • Entrant B-149 Justin Lee Chee Kong came all the way from Singapore. Once again, a wide variety of international exhibitors were at the forefront of the competition.
  • The performance art of Entrant B-152 Jelili Olorunfunmi Atiku from Nigeria. I almost jumped with surprise when I found out there was a live person inside.
Text by Noriko Miyamura