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junya ishigami exhibition - How small? How vast? How architecture grows.
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Published: August 10 2010

“houses h” 2006

Since its opening in 1919 over ninety years ago, the Shiseido Gallery has presented exhibitions from a variety of artistic spheres, including not only painting and sculpture but also photography, crafts, design, and many others. Many of these featured explorations of architecture, for example the 1922 Ofuna Garden City Housing Exhibition, the 1925 Architectural Construction Exhibition by Bunzo Yamaguchi's Sousha architects collective, and many others of significance in the history of modern architecture. Further, the Shiseido company building itself, and many of the buildings housing its retail spaces, have been designed by well-known Japanese architects, including Kingo Tatsuno, Kenjiro Maeda, Yoshiro Taniguchi, and Yoshio Taniguchi.

In 1993, the Shiseido Gallery's Ginza Modern & Urban Design exhibition explored the urban setting as it pertains to architecture, and also featured some of the architects involved in designing and decorating the buildings in the Ginza district, as well as the work of some of the architects who used the area to introduce new architectural concepts. The “How small? How vast? How architecture grows” exhibition will be the Shiseido Gallery's first architecture-related exhibition in seventeen years.

Architect Junya Ishigami exhibited in the Japanese pavilion in 2008 and participated in a group show in 2010 at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. He was awarded the Architectural Institute of Japan's AIJ Prize in 2009. Such activities, both in Japan and abroad, have made him one of the most closely watched contemporary architects. Ishigami's approach is marked by a distinct freedom from existing concepts as he pursues new possibilities for architecture. He says about his works: “I view architecture as one way to open up those realms that are still unknown to us.”

Ishigami is currently working on a book with the London-based Thames & Hudson art publishing house, scheduled for release in 2011. This book will introduce about 100 of Ishigami's projects, past, new and still-unpublicized, as well as explore his thinking about architecture itself.

This exhibition presents about sixty of these works, mainly in the form of architectural models. Among these, little gardens conceptualizes the insides of dozens of fingertip-sized cups as spaces in which to exhibit tiny flowers and plants on miniscule walls; landscape for the old museum re-designs the garden surrounding an old Scottish museum to renew and regenerate the museum itself; and big patio surrounds by architecture the large fields and mountains and other landscapes around cities to create a courtyard-like space and retranslates this as the urban environment, in the process bringing the scale of the natural environment and the scale of the city into equivalence. These projects make little clear distinction between that which actually exists and that which is an extension of the actually existing, and since they result from thinking of these as equivalents, in the background there is always research for specialists and the attendant concrete trials in the form of physical calculations and theoretical development, all going beyond categorical architecture. For Junya Ishigami, all of these are part of his pursuit of the possibilities of architecture.

Junya Ishigami say's, that in today's world we need an architecture that goes beyond conventional values and scales, as the range of people's awareness expands in an age, where it is possible to find out about almost anything in the world in an instant. As suggested by its title, Ishigami's conviction and hope for this exhibition is, that it will “help us think about the possibilities for expanding the scale of architecture—planets and architecture, particles and architecture, everything in between and beyond architecture and architecture.”

The Shiseido Gallery invites one and all to experience the world of Junya Ishigami as he advances this architectural vision steadily from the present into the future.

Junya Ishigami Profile
1974 Born in Kanagawa, Japan
2000 Earns Masters Degree in Architecture and Planning from the Faculty of Fine Arts,
Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music
2000-04 Employed by the architecture firm Kazuyo Sejima & Associates
2004 Establishes an independent architecture firm, junya.ishigami+associates
2009 Joins Tokyo University of Science as adjunct instructor

Selected Major Works
2005 table
2007 balloon
2008 KAIT Studio for the Kanagawa Institute of Technology
2008 Shop for Yohji Yamamoto fashions on Gansevoort Street in New York
2008 Solo exhibition in the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture

2005 SD Prize, SD Review 2005, Tokyo
2005 Kirin Prize, Kirin Art Project 2005, Tokyo
2008 Grand Prize, Iakov Chernikhov International Prize,
2008 Future Prize, Kanagawa Cultural Awards
2008 Architectural Review Awards prize
2009 Grand Prize, Office Division, Contract world.award 2009
2009 Second Prize, Conversion Division, Contract world.award 2009
2009 Grand Prize, Bauwelt Prize
2009 Architectural Institute of Japan Prize

* The text provided by Shiseido Gallery

Opened dates: August 24 - October 17, 2010

Last Updated on August 24 2010

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