31 January 2007, Tokyo
I had a presentation of my Japanese drawings on Monday at AIT. After my talk, Mari said, that the drawings look too much like the reality. That is possible.
When I went first time to America, for Everything I Don't Understand Must Be Sin solo show in New York, I was afraid of the same thing. In Europe, my work is absurd, exaggerating and provocative but in commercial kitsch overdose countries, like Japan and the United States, it is realistic.
It would be good to exhibit these works also in Japan but first it's going to Helsinki, Timo invited me to show it at Korjaamo in August. Timo is a Japan geek but most of the people will see the drawings as superficial exotic otherness.
SOFT-BOILED ARTIST IN PAIN
27 January 2007, Tokyo
No drawing this week - I've had an awful neck pain - but many openings and heavy networking. On Friday, the opening of All about Laughter at Mori Museum was fun. The exhibition was a bit too much hypermarket style but I laughed five times, so I suppose it means the show worked. Champagne tasted delicious on 52nd floor of the Roppongi Hills and I knew many people and I was introducing them to each other. Awesome.
On Wednesday, I had a meeting with Mori's Fumio Nanjo. I don't know if he liked my work. Yuko says that I shouldn't expect immediate success of our meetings. She's right. After all, I'm very sensitive to show my work. Today we had a meeting with the gallerist Misako Rosen, who has a beautiful space, and she didn't even look the work, just scanned 50 drawings in three minutes. I almost cried. I'd like to be as hard-boiled as Masked Rider.
MY JAPANESE SHOPPING LIST
24 January 2007, Tokyo
Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Yebisu beer, strawberries, spaghetti, sushi, Suntory Whisky, tomatoes, instant coffee, sugar, Pocky, low fat milk, Suntory Natural Mineral Water from the Minami Alps, washing powder, avocado, Australian wine, cup noodles with nice mascots, Camembert Hokkaido, grape fruit juice, D-Spec Side Slide Box H Hard Less Smell cigarettes and anything with cute images.
CREATIVELY BAFFLED BY TOKYO
20 January 2007, Tokyo
That's the headline of Julian Satterthwaite's article about me today in The Daily Yomiuri, a Japanese newspaper published in English. I say stylish things in the interview like "I like things I don't understand" or "sometimes I don't know if I do art about something because I like it, or is it because I do art about it that I like it". Mr. Satterthwaite concludes the article "the more I look, the less certain I am, and that seems to suit Sakkinen just fine".
ARE JAPANESE MORE POLITE THAN ALGERIANS?
19 January 2007, Tokyo
I went with Yuko to do some networking. We met Takefloor's Atsuko Ninagawa and Kazuyuki Takezaki. They were really nice and I think they liked my work. Now they have a show of my Japanese favorite artist Misaki Kawai and a hilarious video of Guy Ben-Ner.
Later we went to an opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which looks and feels like an airport as Roger said. After the speeches, some people took four plates of food from the buffet and hid it in a corner. I was too slow, I got just a glass of orange juice. I think the Japanese are just as egoist, rude and impolite as people everywhere else.
15 January 2007, Tokyo
Prostitution is one of the main themes in my work. Every day, I read in the newspaper all "relax" ads (this word is used in Spain). When I travel, I check the darkest sides of the cities looking for material.
My wife visited here in Tokyo in Christmas and she couldn't understand why I knew all the red light districts. I tried to explain that it's only my job and my art is not autobiographical - I'm not a heavy user of commercial sex.
Prostitution is the not-so-pretty but the very true face of the neoliberal globalized capitalism. It's the field where you can find the abuse and the torture in seductive garter belts. Prostitution is the place where the Nigerian girl threaten by voodoo meats the drunk and randy businessman. It's the fashionable meeting point of cultures.
I'm postfeminist and I don't condemn the prostitution but I do condemn the Wild West-East capitalism.
BORIS AND RIIKO - TOURISTS IN RESIDENCE
13 January 2007, Tokyo
I started the day - after all night drinking - with a sashimi breakfast at the famous Tsukiji fish market. I spotted at least 20 tourist taking photos of the men selling and buying huge tuna fishes.
In the afternoon, I went to Boris Mikhailov's talk at Wonder Site. He was showing photos taken during his residency in Tokyo. Surprising or not, he had exactly the the same photos from Tsukiji that the tourist were taking in the morning.
It's difficult to make art, or observations in general, about a new place or otherness. Wanting to do something local or site specific results often to be obvious, stereotyping and cliche. And I'm not excluding myself and my small drawings made of Japanese junk food and fast sex.
10 January 2007, Tokyo
Here in Japan, I'm used to not to understand anything what people say - today it wasn't Japanese but French. Shun guided his French friends and me to the most important galleries of the city, including Tomio Koyama and Hiromi Yoshii, the two galleries Yuko and Roger think would be best for me.
I liked Mika Kato's show at Koyama, though it was like most of the art I see here: beautiful but just surface - or at least I don't understand what it is about. Takashi Murakami calls it superflat. But having a cool name doesn't make it more interesting. Possibly, I'm wrong and they're right.
After the French day, I could speak some Finnish having dinner with Esa, artistic director of one of the most important theaters in Helsinki and his partner Aina, my childhood friend and writer about to publish her first novel.
SELF-CENSORSHIP OR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS?
09 January 2007, Tokyo
I was interviewed today for The Daily Yomiuri, a Japanese newspaper published in English. The interviewer was well prepared but he had problems with choosing images - he said that his editor is so conservative that it's impossible to publish anything mine dealing with Japan. Finally, he picked Radioactive Sushi for Traitors, which is political but about Russia, Japan's enemy.
Other highlights from the past few days include playing shoot 'em up video games with my new friend Mari and singing karaoke at five o'clock on Sunday morning with American redneck expatriates.
But who will take me to pachinko?
RAMEN EATING COMPETITION
06 January 2007, Tokyo
I eat spaghetti and watch a ramen eating competition on TV . I almost puke my pasta but I'd prefer to be there - anything is better that eating alone.
It's raining and the only thing I can do is to draw: an octopus drinking beer, animal rights damage our economy, Hello Kitty zoophilia, sweetshop & sweatshop.
I tried to take my two suits to dry cleaner's but the polite girls there said something in Japanese and pointed a sign saying 777. They didn't take my clothes. I'm tired of not understanding anything. I'm tired of the otherness. Take me home tonight /Where there's music and there's people / And they are young and alive / Driving in my car / I always want to go home / Because I have got one.
04 January 2007, Tokyo
The holiday is over, my wife left this morning. I'm alone in Tokyo again. I've done all the tourist things: temples in Asakusa, the City View Observatory in Roppongi Hills and sushi at Tsukiji. Now I can only make new drawings. The freedom makes me melancholic. I envy the salarymen in the Yamanote line, they have thousands of things to do.