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Facts of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art - Hayward Gallery
The London Eye

On 1 November 2001I saw the exhibition Facts of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art at the Hayward Gallery on London's South Bank. The exhibition celebrates 26 key players with their experiences of the modern world and daily life. Japan's economic difficulties are reflected in many of the exhibits. Tomoko Isoda takes photographs of deserted streets while Ryinji Miamoto set up makeshift studios in camps where homeless people live out a threadbare existence. In contrast, Shimakuka displays a bizarre sense of humour in a video in which he takes a real octopus on a jaunt from Osaka to Tokyo; this was probably the first octopus in history to go to the fish market in Tokyo and come back alive! The British landscape appears in Shigenobu Yoshida's spectacular work, based in a train ride, but also involving mirrors, water bowls, and a rainbow. And the eminent senior exhibitor Yukio Nakagawa explores the theme of the transience by photographing a heap of red tulip petals. There is the use of a love tortoise as a sex toy with a Japanese lady in a series of photographs simulating sex with a tortoise; it's suggestively shaped head seeming to disappear in her mouth. After viewing the exhibition, I walked along the river and decided to take a trip in the British Airways' London Eye (positioned just outside the Royal Festival Hall); it's a revolving wheel of capsules, each capsule holding about 20 people. The London Eye gives you a spectacular panoramic view of London. The "ride" takes some 30 minutes - a radius of 25 miles. The London Eye began life as a creation of two architects, the husband and wife partnership of Julia Barfield and David Marks, to celebrate the Millennium and to give visitors and Londoner's a view of the metropolis as never seen before. By day, can be witnessed a bustling metropolis punctuated by tranquil parks and the gently flowing Thames, but as the sun sets over the capital, London takes on a different face. It becomes a blaze of colour with its windows glinting in the evening light, throwing reflections on the Thames. Streetlights sparkle like stars and London's premier buildings are all floodlit.

 

Verinha Ottoni.




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