During the weekend of the 5th of February, Amsterdam will welcome a new initiative by the name of MONO JAPAN. The debuting event organized by the Japan Cultural Exchange offers a stage to acclaimed Japanese masters of traditional practices next to the new generation of ambitious and enthusiastic creators from the country famous for its craftsmanship and design vision. The inspirational new platform has curated a diverse selection of exhibitors, presenting their products which range from pottery, washi (paper), textile, clothing and furniture to teas, sakes and art in the iconic rooms of the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy. Out of this beautiful lot of ambassadors of the Land of the Rising Sun we particularly love the work of multidisciplinary artist Ryo Okamoto, who is present with fellow artist Daimon Kanno, to introduce his totally unique, yet very Japanese vision on contemporary art.
Ryo Okamoto is an artist who is active in a highly diverse field of endeavors, ranging from design direction to actual motorcycle racing to create a new powerful form of art. At MONO JAPAN, he will exhibit his unique pieces of art made of antique (religious) materials and minerals to represent a profoundly Japanese perspective that is slowly fading in the country due to the rapid development of science, technology and global culture, spurring people to be more and more aesthetic from a Western perspective. His sculptural and painted creations are eclectic in its form, touching both a mythical as a nostalgic element, serving as iconoclastic representations of former values in an intrinsic modern form, reminding of the work of Studio Job and even Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne.
The Japanese artist was born in Hyogo, Japan and moved to England in 1995 where he started working as designer at the famous Subpop Records label for 5 years. During this period he joined Camberwell Art College where he followed foundational courses for a year after which he switched to Central Saint Martins to study painting, which he then quit after 2 years. In 2000 he moved back to Japan where his work, having moved beyond just canvas into the sculptural realm, slowly gathered recognition and found an audience through different exhibitions at different galleries, which also let to an exhibition in Portland, USA in 2012. Next to working on solo projects he joined forces with Daimon Kanno to form the artist duo Okamotoya Monzaemon for some years now.
When in Amsterdam in the period of 5 until 7 February, make sure to drop by the Lloyd Hotel at the Oostelijke Handelskade 34, free of entrance fees.
For more information on MONO JAPAN see here
For more work by Ryo Okamoto see here