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Tokyo Gendai retrospective: Asia's newest art fair shines

Luke Chapman

Jul 20, 2023

Tokyo Gendai in Yokohama (a port city south of Tokyo) is the newest entry to the Japanese network of art fairs and programs, showcasing a quality selection of galleries and artists curated with care and precision. Tokyo and Yokohama, with their meticulously designed urban symphony, provided the perfect canvas for this haven. The fair created a tranquil and immersive experience away from the metropolitan hustle and bustle. The chaos of commerce faded into the background, and the pure essence of creativity took center stage, offering an almost hushed dialogue between artist and viewer. Here, one could pause, breathe, and immerse in the unfiltered pulse of artistic vision. Below are the most standout gallery presentations highlighted by eazel’s Luke Chapman.



Perrotin: debut presentation by Aryo Toh Djojo


Aryo Toh Djojo
Hallelujah, 2023
Acrylic on canvas 
38.1 × 76.2 cm (15 × 30 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin (multiple cities)



In the Perrotin booth, Aryo Toh Djojo's works transported viewers to ethereal realms brimming with symbolism and mystique. Djojo's artistic language, a fusion of intricate detail and vibrant color, lures viewers into a dreamscape where time stands still and boundaries dissolve. The pieces exude a profound sense of introspection, inviting viewers to delve into the depths of their own consciousness.


Perrotin's presence at Tokyo Gendai served as a testament to the gallery's commitment to presenting groundbreaking artists who push the boundaries of creativity. In collaboration with Djojo, Perrotin curated a space that transcended the confines of reality, opening a gateway to extraordinary dimensions. As visitors wandered through the booth, they were enveloped in a world of wonder, sharing in the artist's penchant for UFOs, where imagination takes flight and the boundaries blur.



Jack Shainman Gallery: solo presentation of Toyin Ojih Odutola


Installation view of Toyin Ojih Odutola’s solo booth at Tokyo Gendai 2023, Yokohama
Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York


Amidst the curated selection of galleries, Jack Shainman's booth emerged as a sanctuary of artistic brilliance through Toyin Ojih Odutola's transcendent solo presentation. Odutola, a master of visual storytelling, captures the essence of humanity in strokes of profound beauty.

A harmonious blend of portraiture and narrative, Odutola’s pieces beckon viewers into a world where identities are explored and reimagined. With delicate lines and rich textures, she constructs intricately unraveling narratives. Her subjects, adorned with a striking elegance, embody a quiet strength that challenges conventional notions of representation. Through her works, Odutola weaves a tapestry of interconnected stories, illuminating the complexities of human existence. In this exchange, viewers are compelled to reflect on their stories and contemplate the multifaceted nature of identity.


Wada Fine Arts: solo presentation of Tetsuya Ishida


Installation view of Tetsuya Ishida's solo booth at Tokyo Gendai 2023, Yokohama
Courtesy of Wada Fine Arts, Tokyo


Previous showcases at Taipei Dangdai and Basel in recent years solidified the late Tetsuya Ishida's position as an artist of immense talent and significance. His ability to capture the struggles and alienation of modern existence resonates with viewers worldwide. Ishida's artistry continues to be celebrated today, fostering a deeper understanding of his unique perspective. 

Ishida's paintings and drawings offer glimpses into a surreal universe, where figures are trapped in mundane yet unsettling situations. Through his meticulous attention to detail and subtle symbolism, Ishida captures the alienation and disconnection of contemporary society. In this compelling presentation at Tokyo Gendai, visitors are drawn into Ishida’s enigmatic world. Yumie Wada, the gallerist, asked the visitors of the booth to pay attention to the strong undertones of hope in the exhibited painting.



The Hole Gallery: selected artists


Installation view of selected artists presentation at Tokyo Gendai 2023, Yokohama
Courtesy of The Hole Gallery, New York and Los Angeles



With their hand painted booth, The Hole Gallery immersed viewers in a world where traditional art seamlessly encapsulates art-tech innovation. Featuring a captivating blend of immersive installations, interactive artworks, and digital explorations, it challenged our perceptions and invited active engagement.

Through this selection, The Hole Gallery spotlighted the evolution of art in the digital era, highlighting the transformative potential of technology. Ry David Bradley, Bryant Girtsch and the other selected artists speak of virtual realities, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies, creating thought-provoking experiences that question our understanding of art and its relationship to the contemporary world. At Tokyo Gendai, The Hole Gallery solidifies its position at the forefront of the art-tech movement, igniting conversations and shaping the trajectory of art in the digital age.



Dio Horia Gallery: solo presentation by Maja Djordjevic


Installation view of Maja Djordjevic’s solo booth at Tokyo Gendai 2023, Yokohama
Courtesy of Dio Horia Gallery, Athens
Photo: Luke Chapman



Dio Horia presented an inspirational solo presentation of Maja Djordjevic, whose work is simultaneously showcased at Tokyo Gendai and Dio Horia Gallery in Athens. Djordjevic's thought-provoking artworks invite viewers on an introspective journey, exploring the complexities of the human experience, art, and technology.

Djordjevic's oil paintings and mixed media works capture moments of vulnerability and resilience, delving into the depths of emotion and the human psyche, becoming a poetic exploration of the artist's inner world. Her remarkable presentation at Tokyo Gendai invited viewers to explore the layers of meaning embedded within each artwork, connecting with the artist's universal themes through their own unique perspectives. The exhibition in Athens extends Djordjevic's narrative, engaging with a different audience and cultural context.



NowHere Gallery: Metaverse Petshop by Exonemo


Installation view of Metaverse Petshop at Tokyo Gendai 2023, Yokohama
Courtesy of NowHere Gallery, New York and Los Angeles



NowHere Gallery presented an immersive group presentation at Tokyo Gendai that captivated viewers with thought-provoking artworks. Within their booth, the spotlight shone on the captivating works of Exonemo in Metaverse Petshop, showcasing the artistic innovation and visionary concepts that define NowHere Gallery's curation. Exonemo’s creations transport viewers to surreal realms, blurring the boundaries between reality and imagination. These playful new media sculptures and interactive artworks foster dialogue about relationships with technology and companionship in a digital age. Metaverse Petshop prompts reflection on the evolving boundaries of human connection and the ways in which technology shapes our experiences.



Josh Lilley: solo presentation by Spencer Lewis


Spencer Lewis
Untitled, 2023
Acrylic, oil, enamel, spray paint, and ink on jute
180 x 163 x 4 cm (70.8 x 64 x 1.5 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Josh Lilley, London



Spencer Lewis' artworks, exhibited at Josh Lilley's booth, offered striking compositions of vibrant color palettes. Each piece reflected his unique artistic voice, blending elements of abstraction and found objects to create a visual symphony that evokes both introspection and emotional resonance.


Lewis’ solo presentation becomes a transformative experience within Josh Lilley's curated space. Each artwork exudes narrative depth, inviting viewers to embark on a personal journey of interpretation and reflection. His artistry captures fleeting moments, subtle gestures, and intricate details, offering a glimpse into the intricacies of human existence. His works radiate a magnetic energy, drawing visitors into an immersive exploration of the artist's world. Josh Lilley's astute curation enhanced the impact of Lewis' art, creating an environment that encourages dialogue and connection.



Phillida Reid: duo presentation by Claudia Kogachi and Joanna Piotrowska


Installation view of the dual presentation at Tokyo Gendai 2023, Yokohama
Courtesy of Phillida Reid Gallery, London


Phillida Reid's duo presentation by Joanna Piotrowska and Claudia Kogachi captivated the audience through distinct yet compelling approaches to exploring the human experience.


Kogachi's work delves into the personal and imaginary realms, depicting everyday leisure activities and collective moments with a touch of whimsy. With playful ease, Kogachi's distinctive visual language of bold block colors creates works that are simultaneously friendly and provocative. On the other hand, Joanna Piotrowska examines the human condition through the construction of social landscapes using photography, performance, and film. Drawing inspiration from family archives, self-defense manuals, and psychotherapeutic methods, Piotrowska delves into the complex roles played out in everyday life.

Through their artistic practices, Kogachi and Piotrowska invite viewers to engage with the personal, the performative, and the complexities of social interactions. Their works provoke introspection, challenge preconceived notions, and shed light on the multidimensionality of humanity.



Tokyo Gendai’s success testifies to the passionate energy of both the Japanese and Asian art worlds, solidifying its position as a must-visit destination for art collectors and professionals. The fair provided a platform for innovative and thought-provoking works to leave a lasting impression, inspiring contemplation and appreciation. The artworks offered insights into human existence, emotions, and imaginative futures. The artistic haven provided solace, inspiration, and a profound understanding that art is not an object but a living, pulsating force that resonates within us all, beyond borders. We look forward to what Tokyo Gendai offers in the years to come.



Tokyo Gendai took place from July 7 - 9, 2023 in Yokohama, Japan.