The biggest and most spectacular art festival in Tokyo is “Roppongi Art Night”. Every year in fall, the entire Roppongi district, which is famous for its many museums and its vibrant nightlife, is transformed into an exciting “art-amusement park” for adults.
A spectacular opening ceremony for pop culture fans
This year, “Roppongi Art Night” took place from September 30th (Sat) 10 am to October 1st (Sun) 6 pm. One of the highlights is the opening show, which takes place at “Roppongi Hills Arena”.
Mika Ninagawa, a Japanese artist who is especially popular among Japanese women, directed the show.
Mika Ninagawa attracts attention worldwide – not only as a photographer of brightly colored flower pictures but also as a movie director. Those who have seen her movies “Sakuran” (2006) and “Helter Skelter” (2012) can easily imagine how wild, vibrant and glamorous the performance was.
A parade of colorful fantasy figures – some of them in traditional Japanese robes – moved slowly through the spectators to the music of the animation movie “Ghost in the Shell”. This mixture of modern pop culture, anime and Japanese traditions, that is completely free from conventions and rules is something that can only be seen here in Japan.
The whole city as a museum
Everywhere throughout Roppongi Hills, Roppongi Hills Arena, and Mori Garden (right next to the Arena), works by international and Japanese artists were exhibited. I liked the art installation “suit” by the Japanese artist Makoto Egashira most.
A set of an entire living room and several mannequins were completely covered with fluffy blankets with a floral motif. Visitors were allowed to borrow clothes made from the same blankets and take a “family portrait” with the dolls.
In my opinion, this installation represents 100% of the essence of contemporary art. These kinds of works are interactive artworks that you can not only look at but also touch. Through such non-everyday experiences, we can make new discoveries, and sometimes even the way we see the world changes.
On our way from Roppongi Hills to Tokyo Midtown, we saw various live performances and art installations. The whole city looked like a big museum. Several works were exhibited at the Tokyo Midtown Square. “Kenkenpa” was a work where visitors had to jump into rings arranged like a path while a Japanese singer performed live music. You had to try to jump in accordance with the rhythm of the songs. While everybody was desperately trying to keep up with the rhythm it turned out that us adults were…well, a little stiff. Small children were much better at jumping. Everyone was smiling and laughing. It was really fun!
Small, medium and large – artworks that come in every scale
Several installations and events were held at Tokyo Midtown and the park area behind the building. The huge but lightweight concert hall “ARK NOVA” drew our attention first. This balloon hall can actually hold up to 500 people! Right next to the gigantic ballon, artist talk events with a limited number of participants were held. Events at “Roppongi Art Night” come in every shape and scale.
There were events and art installations planned for the whole night. It’s a contemporary art festival where you can stroll around and have fun until the sun rises again. “Roppongi Art Night” is for everyone who loves art, likes Japan, or just loves playing and trying something completely new. I’m looking forward to next year! How about you? Why don’t you visit Roppongi and join us at this gigantic playground?
Roppongi Art Night 2017