Arts & Culture

Japanese Art Collective TeamLab Marks Its First Philippine Appearance at Art Fair Philippines

An immersive nine-channel work greets you on the fourth floor of The Link at the Globe Platinum booth.
IMAGE PAU GUEVARRA
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Japanese art collective teamLab has been fusing art with digital technology since 2007. It's spread this concept across the corners of the globe, with permanent exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Amos Rex in Helsinki, and the Asia Society Museum in New York. Last year, the collective established its permanent museum at the MORI Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.

Its works, which have become a social media favorite, have finally reached Philippine shores with some help from Globe Platinum and the Gajah Gallery in Singapore. An exclusive installation, Reversible Rotation, was revealed at the Globe Platinum booth at the ongoing edition of Art Fair Philippines.


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The monochrome work occupies nine screens and depicts a rotating “spatial calligraphy” that turns in one direction, but similar to an optical illusion, it can appear to rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise. The jagged lines are a modern take on the traditional Japanese technique of calligraphy called “sho” and appear on the numerous screens like brush strokes.

The digital piece uses two unique concepts that teamLab has become known for: spatial calligraphy and an ultrasubjective space. Art lovers first caught a glimpse of the collective’s spatial calligraphy in Kakeru, a one-minute-and-45-second work with calligraphy by Yozan Ohashi in debuted in 2007 and in Line and Carp on the same year. It’s been around since the group has and applies the modern calligraphy on an interactive canvas that “expresses the depth, speed and power of the brushstroke.


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The ultrasubjective subject, a more technical process to unbox, takes cues from the pages of pre-modern Japanese art by reinterpreting spatial awareness. It’s the science behind that three-dimensional effect that the collective uses.


“We are not animating by drawing a picture on a plane. We are creating 3-D objects in a 3-D space and then flattening them using the logical constructs of ultrasubjective space,” the teamLab website says. “Through this exploration of space, we can generate new viewing experiences and raise questions about how modern people understand the world.” This also explains the science behind how each teamLab work immerses its viewers into the art. The collective has always pushed their “no boundaries” philosophy by creating digital works that engages its audiences.

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Another teamLab work, Gold Waves, is displayed at the Gajah Gallery booth on the 7th floor.

Art Fair Philippines 2019 runs from February 22 to 24 at The Link carpark in Makati.

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Hannah Lazatin
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Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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