From February 5 to 25, 2019, Tomoko Mukaiyama offer a unique experience at the Japanese exhibition space of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. Daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., the renowned pianist unveils an original score of her own composition that allows space for improvisation. A visual artist as well as a musician, Mukaiyama blends genres and blurs traditional boundaries in her practice as she oscillates from the codified format of the concert to the more open expression of performance art. Her piece at the Forum coincides with the first three weeks of spring, its first notes welcoming the season’s return to Japan. By centring her practice on the intangible links that can be woven between herself and visitors – her listeners – she questions both the space and her own status as an artist. What is a concert or a performance without an audience?
A graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, where she studied under Jean-Michel Alberola, Mari Minato (b. 1981, Japan) paints with stunningly confident and assured gestures that are powerful enough to bring forth new worlds each time. In an exceptional commission, she creates a monumental work for the glass façade of Renzo Piano’s building for the Forum. Playing with the verticality and transparency of the architecture, she imagines a circular form linked to the notion of “receptacle”. At once subtle and imposing, enveloping and open, this painted work also evokes the enso of Zen Buddhism. A three months-long study was necessary to develop the techniques for the sublime exterior painting to adorn the façade. Within the exhibition space, Minato also produces mural paintings with vibrant forms that are both ethereal and organic.
Within the exhibition space itself, Mari Minato brings forth different forms through her free application of colour to large strips of paper, creating a light and airy installation whose painted motifs transcend civilisations and invite quiet meditation.
In autumn 2019, the Forum’s curator, Reiko Setsuda, offers carte blanche to Guillaume Désanges, her colleague at La Verrière in Brussels, for a carte blanche exhibition. Désanges brings to Tokyo an experimental project on perception, which began in 2018 with Ismaïl Bahri’s solo exhibition, “Des gestes à peine déposés dans un paysage agité”. The Franco-Tunisian artist’s practice is characterized by minimal interventions and restrained gestures that invite viewers to pay close attention to details, incidents and tiny variations that hover at the very limit of perceptibility. In Tokyo, Bahri transforms the glass building of the Hermès Maison Ginza into an optical apparatus that alternately reveals or hides the outside world. Part of an immersive installation entitled “Invisible Concern”, encompassing videos, objects, paintings and drawings, Bahri’s work foregrounds our perception of light, the back-and-forth between the visible and the invisible, and the ineffable anxiety hidden between the surface of things and all that escapes our gaze.