TANA Gallery Bookshelf
Closes Nov. 18
Jimbocho is a Tokyo neighborhood famous for its high density of booksellers, but there is one particular bookshelf worth a look — if not for its books.
Tucked away on the third floor of a bigakko (art workshop) near Jimbocho Station, TANA Gallery Bookshelf is perhaps Tokyo’s smallest gallery space. Its dimensions are a mere 85×30×15 cm.
Gallery owner Tamura Masamichi, however, points out that size doesn’t always matter. The space may be small, but its concept is fully developed.
“Any space is uniquely limited regardless of its scale,” he says. “And what really matters to art is whether one will just ignore and spoil the uniqueness or re-evaluate it creatively.”
Masamichi takes inspiration from French philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s idea of space being a social product. “[It] made me precisely understand how unconsciously (thus ideologically) we’re re-producing space everyday,” he explains. “And how natural it is to produce space without spending years to become a professional architect or urban planner.”
In this way, TANA is a fitting concept in which to present the fluid meanings and freewheeling pluralism found in contemporary art today.
TANA’s current exhibition is a delicate arrangement of paper cutouts by Venezuelan-born artist Beatriz Inglessis. Her artwork requires close viewing and fits perfectly within the space. At first glance, it appears quite abstract, but on closer inspection the viewer will discern an image of a rather intimate nature.
Since the bubble years, Tokyo’s land values have made art exhibitions prohibitively expensive for many young people starting out in the field. TANA proposes one way to overcome this problem.
“Besides, a noncommercial gallery is easier and more rewarding than running a commercial gallery,” says Masamichi, who has found that many artists respond positively to the space. “Being experimental is fun, since artists seek the occasion and know how to enjoy it.” (Emily Wakeling)
TANA Gallery Bookshelf is inside the Dai 2 Fuji Bldg, 2-20 Kanda, Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku; admission is free; open 1 p.m.- 9 p.m., usually closed on Sun. For more information, visit rad-commons.main.jp/tana/index.