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Artists from Japan:
Chiho Aoshima

Makoto Aida

By Makoto Aida


Chiho Aoshima

Using Bezier curves, Chiho Aoshima creates extraordinary worlds populated with ghosts, zombies, and teenage girls.

Debuting in the art scene with no formal art training, Chiho Aoshima’s work transcends traditional techniques of representation.  Aoshima uses computer software to create beautiful and erotic worlds of ghosts, demons, schoolgirls, and exquisite natural landscapes. 

Her work is printable on any surface; from canvas bags to giant wallpaper installations.  “My work feels like strands of my thoughts that have flown around the universe before coming back to materialize,” Aoshima states. 

Aoshima’s work has garnered international renown with a number of high profile projects.  She collaborated with Issey Miyake in 2003, with her artwork featured in the spring/summer collection. 

In 2004, she was invited to participate in the 54th Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, where she unveiled her largest wallpaper piece to date, measuring 106 feet (32.5m ) in length by 15 feet (4.8m ) in height.  In May 2005, as part of the Little Boy project, her ecologically-themed “City Glow” and “Paradise” series covered ad spaces throughout the Union Square subway station in New York, greeting commuters as they passed. 

In a solo show in 2005, Aoshima presented both her first sculptural work and a 5-screen 7-minute animation piece.

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Makoto Aida
by Monty DiPietro


For several years now, the Tokyo art scene has been trying its best to keep up with the work of Makoto Aida, a task made difficult by the fact that it is nearly impossible to anticipate where the enigmatic artist will go next. At the ripe old age of 35, Aida has covered most of the artistic angles with an oeuvre that includes manga, painting, video, and installation, executed with such a wide range of expressive qualities that it is difficult to believe all could have been created by a single artist.

So while most were amused, few were surprised to discover that the entranceway for the scruffy artist’s latest show requires visitors to climb a three-step ladder, hoist themselves through a hole in the wall and slide down a three-meter-long "tongue" in order to get inside. Making an artful and fun entrance is what the show, "Otoko no Sake," is mostly about – the splashy installation that cover the floors and walls of the Mizuma Gallery in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward evolved over a period two weeks, as Aida worked with the eager assistance of 40 community college student apprentices.

The lightweight art filling the tin foil and cardboard-covered gallery includes a wall full of crepe paper flowers, a large water tower photograph, a crude cardboard mobile featuring giant mop, broom, and toilet plunger, and several painting on board pieces that resemble theater scenery – the most impressive of these depicting a blender filled with human bodies.

"I didn’t really think about anything for this show," laughs the artist at an opening party filled with the participating students and their drunk and giggling friends. "It’s like a school festival, and acts as a counterpoint to my serious work."

Aida may be best-known for his disturbing Nihonga paintings of young female amputees, some of them leashed like a dog. He has also exhibited a "Fake Suicide Machine," built a cardboard castle for the Shinjuku homeless, and done a splendid series of mock children’s paintings on themes such as "Save Nature," and "Be Punctual."


Some recent examples of what Aida calls his "more serious work" can be found in the group show "Ground Zero Japan," now on at the Art Tower Mito in Ibaragi. Here Aida is showing byobu (folding screen) paintings from his ongoing "War Picture Returns" series. The mixed-media constructions find flag-waving Koreans, the Hiroshima atom bombing memorial dome, and a four meter wide panorama of mother-of-pearl Japanese Zero fighter planes buzzing a burning New York City, in a commentary on the propaganda paintings glorifying the Imperial Army that artists such as Yokoyama Taikan painted during the Second World War.

A political-activist in college, Aida says he believed that "English-language education was an intrigue by American imperialism," and so resolved not to learn the language. Strains of nationalism can be evidenced in the artist’s work, most obviously in his "War Picture Returns" series but also in other pieces such as the video "Lonely Planet," in which the artist makes anonymous telephone calls to non-English-speaking countries. In an attendant note to "Lonely Planet," Aida bemoans his discovery that Africans can speak French. Somebody might want to tell Aida that many Koreans can speak Japanese, and then explain the reason why.

Thankfully, Aida plans to relocate to New York City in February of next year. A little time in a cosmopolitan environment will do the clever artist a world of good, and enable him to see his country from a new perspective. And then, again, we in the Tokyo art scene can wait and wonder, with the same question: What on earth is Makoto Aida going to think of next?


Courtesy Sotheby's
The big-ticket item among Sotheby's traditional fare was this pair of burnt red manuscript covers intricately painted with scenes of worship, which sold for $110,500 (est. $100–120,000).

The formerly explosive auction market for Indian and Southeast Asian art emitted but a few sparks last week, as a meager trio of sales made $8.7 million — nothing to sniff at in this economy, but still a stark contrast to the category’s total gross of $45 million last March. Christie’s and Sotheby’s reduced not only the number of lots they typically offer during New York’s Asia Week, but also the number of actual sales devoted to the broad sector, which covers more geographical and chronological ground than most auction categories.

Sotheby’s took the most drastic action in redefining their approach by combining its sales of traditional sculpture, artifacts, and painting with its offerings of modern and contemporary art. Last September, the sales were maintained separately, with 117 traditional works of art going for $3.3 million and 126 modern and contemporary lots bringing in $7.9 million. In last week’s hybrid sale on March 18, 139 lots totaled $3.2 million (est. $2.8–4.1 million).


Artists from China
Yi Hongbin
Blogs / Bloggers:
"When that 'little black dress' is not enough ... SHANGRILA!"

US Premiere by 易洪斌 Yi Hongbin

They Are Going

Yi Hongbin (易洪斌) is renowned throughout China as the master of forceful style and deep feelings, being at the forefront of a new movement of Chinese painting style. China has moved into a vibrant stage characterized by mass media and pop culture that threatens to engulf and overshadow traditional art forms, but Yi Hongbin captures the passion of this new generation in his uniquely forceful and masculine style. He brings forth the passion of a modern era to the genre of Chinese painting, where pure technique has traditionally overshadowed individual expression. In this respect, Yi Hongbin's work is nothing short of revolutionary. When the dust from his horses� hooves clears, the vision Yi Hongbin leaves us is often full of wild kinetic energy, the energy of a new and changing China, ready and eager to take up the challenges of a modern world, with all the vigor and wisdom of ages past.

Who�s Who - World Chinese Intellectuals,
Yi Hong-Bin is not only northern China�s premiere sage, he is also a famous painter of horses. He uses both traditional and modern techniques to create vibrant works that have influenced painting through China and internationally. Yi treats horses as "the spirits of the times and the warrior of a great career." His works will be on exhibit from May to July of 2005 at Shangri-La art gallery at 55 Main St, Cortland, NY, USA. Opening reception Thursday 19 May 2005 at 7 PM.

Autumn Run

Yi Hongbin�s work also betrays knowledge of mortality and the fleeting quality of youth and beauty. In his own words, "I work with all my might. But time flies like an arrow, I am old before I know it." Being an intellectual for over fifty years, Yi Hongbin has an exceptional command of literature. He served as president of the Jilin Daily newspaper, chairman of the Jilin Arts Association, executive of the Chinese Art Association, member of the Chinese Writers Association, besides a host of other official roles shaping the modern direction of that ancient land.

Stay Together

Throughout China, Yi Hongbin is known as a leading politician, newspaperman, poet, musician, and novelist. But it is the brush that best expresses Yi Hongbin�s restless spirit, bursting out from the confines and rules of traditional society. He has taken to the horse as the emblem of this self-proclaimed freedom. In this noble animal, Yi has found a kindred spirit to arouse his inspirations and allow his imagination flight. Horses have the spirit of dragons, the endurance of bulls, the heroic bearing of lions, and majesty of tigers as they unite gentleness and robustness.

Three Horses



MOONRISE - Nude bathing in the moonlight as geese fly past.
Geese carry away my message of loneliness to my love.


TIGER - The courage of a nation is made of heroic individuals. A hero is a person with passion and feelings.


RECLINING - Domestic scene of peace and solitude to inspire us. Warmth and beauty must be part of life.

RETURN to Shangri-La Artists

Wild Horse

The opening reception for this show was from 7 to 9 PM, on the 19th of May 2005, at Shangri-La Gifts and Fashion, 55 Main Street (Corner of Main and Court Sts) Cortland, NY. Exhibit is open throughout June and July 2005.


HERE to view other amazing art at Shangri-La, located at 156 East State Street (The Commons) Ithaca, NY. For more details and hours call 607-272-6156, or 570-395-3423.


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