- By Sophie Arni
Last Saturday night SIDE CORE presented a fantastic street exhibition for the Roppongi Art Night event held annually in Tokyo, Japan. Roppongi At Night was the best exhibition - by far - of the night. Roppongi is known as Tokyo's nightlife and contemporary art hub and SIDE CORE presented their artists in a parking lot off its busy streets. SIDE CORE is an artist network from Tokyo, founded in 2012, who live and breath street art. They don't only create work but also curate experiences for the urban reality. It was a full-circle moment to see their latest exhibition, showcasing underground tunnels and rooftops of Tokyo, unveiled outside in the street.
The title of the show takes from a previous collaboration with EVERYDAY HOLIDAY SQUAD at the Reborn Art Festival (Ishinomaki, 2016). rode work, a chandelier of blinking construction signs was made at the 2011 tsunami-affected city of Ishinomaki. Using real construction signs from a provider company, the group created this giant sculpture. rode work later traveled to the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo, 2017) where it was shown as part of the Reborn Art Festival in Tokyo.
A few months pass - and rode work is now illuminating a parking lot in Roppongi, on the street level.
The sculpture was shown with a new video from SIDE CORE and EVERYDAY HOLIDAY SQUAD, a special ode to the city of Tokyo and the fierce courage of these artists to skate throughout its empty and forbidden areas. The group got permission to skate on top of the Mori Building, one of the highest towers of the city. They also recreated the skating ring they originally built in Ishinomaki. Set on a rooftop of Tokyo, this DIY skating park - which emerged as a positive force after the 3/11 tsunami - now regains its status of creative resistance and self-expression in the city.
Finally, across the street, SIDE CORE took over the vitrine of a gallery and collaborated with one of their long-time collaborator, artist Ryota Kikuchi for a special installation. Together, they built a bed inside the gallery's front glass display, for the artist to sleep on. The result: Roppongi at Night, a performance art piece which lasted the whole night in front of people passing by the street. Some of the audience were surprised, others shocked but most highly curious with their phones out. 'Is the artist really sleeping? What is he trying to tell us? If we make too much noise, will he wake up?' This might be interpreted a subtle nod against capitalism and the culture 'window-shopping', as well as a commentary on the multi-media and interactive art. Why look at a painting when you can watch a live human being inside a frame, lit up with professional lighting, sleeping peacefully? Once again, Ryota Kikuchi, EVERYDAY HOLIDAY SQUAD and curators SIDE CORE has shown the power of street action: of instantaneous DIY attitude, breaking rules and making history on a daily/nightly basis.
ROPPONGI AT NIGHT Artist: EVERYDAY HOLIDAY SQUAD, Ryota Kikuchi May 26th, 2018 （Sat） – May 27th, 2018（Sun）/all-night
* video work can be seen only this time below / 15:00 -18:00 Venue：Pakara car parking 6-7-14, Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo. ZIP: 106-0032
Consider reading our 16-page dossier, translated in both English and Japanese, on SIDE CORE in our inaugural GAD Magazine Issue 01, Street Futures.