Held on Sunday, March 8, at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center, GEISAI #12 marked the latest installment of the ongoing series of open-application, competitive one-day festivals organized since 2001 by pop artist and cultural promoter Takashi Murakami. Part exhibition, flea market and spectacle, punctuated by live music acts and special-effects smoke, GEISAI has helped launch the careers of a number of artists — particularly those who have gone on to join Murakami’s own stable of artists, Kaikai Kiki — and provides recognition for winners of prizes selected by a celebrity jury panel.

At GEISAI #12, booth fees starting as low as ¥25,000 attracted a wide range of artistic sensibilities. Many participants brought paintings echoing Murakami’s trademark Superflat aesthetic, with colorful renderings of erotic or cute cartoon-inspired characters. Other works on display ranged from handmade jewelry to conceptual installations, while a contingent of eight Taiwanese artists — sponsored by the Fubon Art Foundation, one of Taiwan’s leading art philanthropies — reflected GEISAI’s growing international appeal.

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