I've been seeing so much interesting new artwork in Japan that it seems only fair to share some of it with those of you reading from other parts of the world. I'm thinking to do a post a week (or something like that) about a Japanese artist or two that I think you should know more about.
First thing, I want to highlight the work of Chiaki Kamikawa. "Kamikawa" means "paper river" in Japanese, which seems a pretty appropriate surname given the nature of her work. She is currently working on a series of drawings and cardboard sculptures in which she invents curious shrines and ritual objects, then places them into imaginary cultures in which her abstracted characters spend time with them in a variety of ways. She's also one of the few artists I've met here who does work with small-press publications - right now she's making an amazing zine charting the imaginary family tree of various geometrically-shaped objects.
Raised in Yokohama and schooled in Edinburgh and Amsterdam, Kamikawa's work investigates cultural tradition, exoticism, and everyday life with a wry sense of humor and an amazing dexterity with graphite on paper. She is currently an artist-in-residence at BankART NYK (where I'm also working), so I peek in on what she's up to whenever I get the chance.