Roppongi Art Night Outdoes Itself Again

Kelly Wetherille

Oct. 23, 2017

Roppongi Art Night is always one of my favorite Tokyo events of the year, and each time it just seems to get better and better. This year the theme was ‘Mirai no Matsuri,’ which translates to ‘festival of the future,’ and it did not disappoint.

Roppongi was chosen as the venue for Art Night because of its large concentration of museums and galleries. With the opening of Roppongi Hills and the Mori Art Museum in 2003, followed by 21_21 Design Site, the Suntory Museum of Art and the National Art Center, Tokyo in 2007, the Roppongi art triangle was formed. Several small galleries followed such as those in the Piramide Building and Complex665, and Roppongi is now truly a center of art in Tokyo.

My first stop when I arrived at Art Night was the Roppongi Hills Arena, where hundreds of people were gathered to watch the performance of Mika Ninagawa’s “Tokyo Dochu.” Standing in the back and trying to see over the crowd wasn’t easy, but after the performance finished I was able to get a closer look at the fairytale-esque installations that made up the set. Western and Asian motifs exploded in a kaleidoscope of color for a piece that fascinated everyone from small children to grown adults.

Inside Roppongi Hills, one of my favorite work was “The Roppongi Higantes Project Walking Among Giants: Them Are Us Too” by the Neo Angono Artists Collective. In this project, there were many  giant sculpted figures modeled after individuals who might be seen in the Roppongi area.

Heading through the streets toward Tokyo Midtown, I came upon the “Kokuritsu Okutama Museum 24-Hour Human Clock,” which was exactly what it sounds like. Three people stood atop pedestals in front of giant clock faces, with their arms becoming the clock hands.

Once at Midtown, the main attraction was indisputable: Anish Kapoor and Arata Isozaki’s “Lucerne Festival Ark Nova 2017 in Tokyo Midtown.” This huge, inflatable concert hall can be transported around the world and takes only one hour to set up. Even though I wasn’t there during a performance, it was a treat simply to step inside this piece of art-meets-architecture, and the excellent acoustics were obvious even without music.

I had such a wonderful time at this year’s Art Night that I don’t know how next year will be able to top it, but I can’t wait to find out!