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Roppongi gallery adds glam to Tokyo art fair

A work featuring Marilyn Monroe at Kristal & Glam
A work featuring Marilyn Monroe at Kristal & Glam

TOKYO (TR) – At last year’s inaugural Tokyo International Art Fair, gallery Kristal & Glam claimed second place as Best Exhibitor.

For this year’s event, to be held on Friday and Saturday, Daisuke Matsuyama, the gallery’s managing art director, has more grand aspirations.

“I’m going to be the champion,” Matsuyama said during a recent interview at the gallery, located in the Roppongi entertainment district.

If glitz were the deciding factor, the gallery would win hands down: The space is filled with colorful collages adorned in stones and featuring the likenesses of international celebrities — a style of art that Maruyama thinks is lacking in Japan.

“We are not dealing with Japanese artists, mostly European artists,” says Matsuyama. “The type of works that wealthy people in Europe purchase is what I am targeting. This is promoted under the concept of ‘living with art.'”

The Tokyo International Art Fair is expected to feature more than 150 artists from over 40 countries at Omotesando Hills. The displays will include a wide variety of contemporary pieces, such as photographs, paintings, illustrations and sculptures, that can be purchased. There will also be live painting performances.

For the Kristal & Glam exhibition, expect plenty of shine, if the gallery is anything to go by. Perusing the gallery’s walls reveals the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe popping out from gold and silver frames, their clothing and hands studded with colored gems. Other pieces have taken inspiration from artist Gustav Klimt.

Most of the works are by Italian artist Daniele Donde, who was born in Cremona, the birthplace of violin maker Antonio Stradivari. It is perhaps not surprising then that the gallery also contains a number of violins, each decorated in colored stones.

Audrey Hepburn at the Kristal & Glam gallery
Audrey Hepburn at the Kristal & Glam gallery

The prices at Kristal & Glam are not for the faint of heart. A piece featuring Steve Jobs, created such that the rendering of the Apple co-founder changes depending on the angle in which it is viewed, runs 2,280,000 yen. A violin can fetch 480,000 yen.

In living up to his bold prediction for this year’s event, Matsuyama will bolster Donde’s works with some by Auguste Artiste, another artist inspired by pop culture.

The organizers of the Tokyo International Art Fair are hopeful that the event can serve in fostering Japan’s involvement in the worldwide art market in the future. Matsuyama is supportive of this concept.

“As to an artist like Donde, he is not well known in Japan, and I’d like to introduce him,” says the director.