After a successful inaugural show last year, artKYOTO is back. The 3-day art fair is taking place this weekend at the Kyoto National Museum, along with a number of satellite locations. “The event aims to engrave in our minds the history of culture and art, which our predecessors have long protected and nurtured, as present-day wisdom. The Kyoto National Museum, an Important Cultural Property, will also serve as a venue in addition to Nijo-jo Castle, a World Heritage site.”

The programs includes an art market, a live performance at Nijo-jo Castle, spotlights on up-and-coming artists and art history tours, all while taking the utmost precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Below are some of the artworks that caught our eye.

A Billowing Bamboo Installation by Tanabe Chiku’unsai IV

It’s hard to miss the gigantic installation by bamboo artist Tanabe Chiku’unsai (previously). The artist and craftsman has been carrying on a family legacy that spans 4 generations. And where the current really excels is in going places where his ancestors haven’t: creating large-scale, site specific installations that engulf and encompass the spaces they’re constructed in.

photo by Tadayuki Minamoto

Explosive Ceramics and Heel-less Shoes

By exploring, yet let literally breaking the rules of ceramics, Takuro Kuwata (previously) has become one of the most explosive young artist in ceramics. He is known for his experimental procedures that result in the intentional bursting or puncturing of glazes when fired. His pieces are on display alongside the heel-less shoes of Noritaka Tatehana, who creates fantastical forms in footwear and adored by celebrities like Daphne Guinness and Lady Gaga.

photos by Noritaka Tatehana

New Nihonga Paintings

Mei Mori is an up-and-coming nihonga artist who creates stunning still lifes and portraits. We loved her colors and compositions and can’t wait to see more from her.

photos courtesy the artist

Animal Bone Snow Crystals

Artist Hiroshi Shiino (previously), known for his intricate and imaginary resin insects, has created an equally intricate installation of snow crystals. But look closely because these aren’t just snow crystals. The artist has made cast resin molds of animal bones and then carefully connected them to create snow crystals.

photos courtesy the artist

Kimono Cappucino

Meanwhile, at the Kyoto Museum of Crafts and Design, Kunihiko Nohara, who is known for his carved wooden depictions of people and animals conjoined with spheres and other objects, has a series of intriguing objects. In addition to his iconic omelette cape figurine covered in gold leaf, as well as a swimmer engulfed in a cloud of cappuccino foam, all made from a single piece of wood.

photos courtesy the artist