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HIDDEN CHAMPIONS OF TOKYO

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As part of my curatorial career, I consider myself fortunate to have been able to spend the last decade working with communities of artists in both Melbourne and Tokyo.

Despite the economic, language and population differences between Melbourne and Tokyo I’ve been able to observe that the art communities of the two cities share a great number of elements. Until recently i’ve found myself passing off the factors that contribute to the remarkable cultural similarities between the two communities by saying that the two cities share the same “vibe”.

I relocated to Europe three years ago, splitting my time between my gallery in Melbourne, a residency program in Tokyo and domestic life in Lyon. Maybe this change of perspective has been the catalyst for looking at the similarities between Melbourne and Tokyo in a new way. I’m no longer satisfied with the simplistic explanation and want to explore the question in more detail. The first step that I see in this process is to gather the evidence for analysis. That is the basis of this exhibition.

I like to have a long term goal in mind when I curate an exhibition. For example, the A Study Of… series is a decade long project which aims to create an archive of artistic studies of various subjects by leading contemporary artists.

Hidden Champions of Tokyo is the first step in an equally ambitious enterprise, a series or projects which aim to explore the essence of Tokyo’s emerging art scene, the contributing elements, artists and various dialogues at work within the city and create a reference for understanding the scene in its historical context.

The artists selected for this first exhibition represent a cross-section of Tokyo’s art community, with a focus on urban contemporary, photography and illustration. They form a matrix of connections and an artistic dialogue that, in my opinion, represents the forefront of Tokyo’s contemporary art scene. The collection is also a collaboration with Hidden Champion Magazine, an art and lifestyle publication which has always become, in my opinion, the best representative and hub for Tokyo’s contemporary art scene. I hope that once the collection has been gathered we will be able to present viewers with a resource for further directing and understanding the community.

Alexander Mitchell, Director Backwoods Gallery

JUN INOUE. K-NARF. KAMI & SASU. MADSAKI. MARK DREW. MASAHO ANOTANI. MHAK. NAO NOZAKA. RYUCHI OGINO. SENEKT. SHOHEI OTOMO. SHOHEI TAKASAKI. SHUN KAWAKAMI. TOHR. TOSHIKAZU NOZAKA. USUGROW. YASUMASA YONEHARA. YOSHIMITSU UMEKAWA. YUMA YOSHIMURA.

HIDDEN CHAMPIONS OF TOKYO is on display at Backwoods Gallery from the 17th – 26th of July and features work from over twenty artist who are at the forefront of Tokyo’s contemporary art scene.

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