Friday, October 02, 2015

Did we say small? We meant big

The exhibition spaces in the contemporary art museums of Tokyo are like their peers in the rest of the well-off world - grossly inflated. When was the last time you could use a simple ladder to hang something off the ceiling of an exhibition space? The result of this institutional love affair with volume is extreme pressure on artists to produce larger and larger works. Having seen a lot of art over the last few days, here's some of the strategies currently in use to make big work with smallish budgets.

1 Building large structures from cheap materials (bamboo, cardboard, plastic etc)

2  Arranging 100 or so small paintings in a grid pattern to take up a big wall

3  Presenting videos inside cheap structures like tents or cupboards

4  Installing large real world objects (the more unexpected the better) in front of paintings or videos. Start with a rowboat or a car and you'll probably get to a homemade working helicopter

5  Leaning large objects (the floor from a school room, for instance) against walls

6  Locating multiple screens in a long line (and they can be showing the same image, see repetition below) or as large scale panoramic projections

7  Isolating and spotlighting furniture (desks, tables, benches) to facilitate a visitor survey or some other bureaucratic task

8  Piling things or stacking things

9  Going for repetition. One plaster cat is dull, 1,000 not so much

Images: top to bottom, left to right. large structure - cheap material, piles, large real-world object, tv in a tent, survey and lots-a-paintings