Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Impressions of "Essence of Edo-Tokyo" featuring Ryo Arai at ICN, London

by Suzanne on November 17th, 2011


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

Although I missed the opening reception for Ryo Arai's show at London's ICN Gallery, I did manage to check it out after a fantastic Liberty Snake ZeroZeroNain organised by Misanthropop that saw some of London's best post-punk DJs and connoisseurs come together.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

Anyways, after admittedly being initially a bit disappointed that the sculpture on the exhibition flyer was not actually on show, everything completely made up for that slight flaw. So much so that this is hands down my favourite London show of 2k11 after Charles Matton's Enclosures at All Visual Arts earlier this year.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

It was tricky to capture all the details of the gorgeous papier-mâché texture of the sculptures in the photos but I hope you nevertheless enjoy these impressions of the show.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

What's more is that the ICN staff was extremely sweet, helpful and very knowledgeable and I purchased an absolutely gorgeous and apparently out-of-print Ryo Arai monograph for as little as a handful of sushi.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

East London can be glad to have this magical new place delivering so much Japanese ocular and culinary goodness to the area.

Essence of Edo-Tokyo will remain on view until this Saturday, November 19, so do go check it out if you're in London.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

Ryo Arai in "Essence of Edo-Tokyo" at ICN, London

by Suzanne on November 4th, 2011


Jorogumo by Ryo Arai - click to enlarge

This is an exhibition announcement for a brand new gallery space London, i.e. myself, has been waiting for: ICN Gallery has officially set foot in Leonard Street to FINALLY bring some much needed japanophilia to East London's art scene and will therefore from now on be my first automatic stop to check out in town - just like the always yummy sushi counter at the Japan Centre.

Essence of Edo-Tokyo presents the works of Ryo Arai & ITARO - both are showing to a London audience for the very first time.


Ubume (detail) by Ryo Arai - click to enlarge

You can tell I'm particularly enamored with Ryo Arai's papier-mâché yokai and I cannot wait to see his works in person. The images featured here are all from his Yokai Hariko series but from what I can see in the press release, only the top sculpture, Jorogumo, will be exhibited - together with other recent oeuvres by him.

The press release states very correctly:

"Utilizing techniques from Edo karakuri, transom sculpture, netsuke and noh theatre mask making, his transcendent techniques makes it hard for the viewer to believe that his work is actually made out of paper."

Oh, and did I mention ICN also has a café specializing in Japanese tea?! Details below.


Mouryou (detail) by Ryo Arai - click to enlarge

On show: Oct 27 - Nov 19, 2011

Address: ICN, 96-98 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4RH, UK, tel: 020 7729 7977, email: info@icn-global.com

Hours: Mon - Sun: 12 - 7 PM

Press release

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