MUST OF THE WEEK 20 - 26 JULY 2015

July 23, 2015

MUST KNOW: Artists install in Fukushima’s radioactive zone - Exhibition may not be accessible for decades

Leading international and Japanese artists have installed a series of works in the deserted radioactive zone established in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster early 2011. But the ongoing exhibition, titled Don’t Follow the Wind, may not be publicly accessible for decades because of health and safety fears after the nuclear fallout triggered by a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in the northeast region.

Over the course of a year, artists including Taryn Simon, Kota Takeuchi and Trevor Paglen have worked with the former residents of Fukushima, creating site-specific works at three contaminated sites: a home, warehouse and farm.

The participating artists Eva and Franco Mattes, who are represented by Carroll/Fletcher gallery in London, co-organised the show. “We all wore coverall suits, gloves and masks. They only protect you from radioactive dust though. Radiation goes through your body. You cannot see, smell, taste or hear it,” Eva Mattes says. The other curators are the New York-based critic Jason Waite, and the independent Japanese curator Kenji Kubota. The Japanese art collective Chim Pom initiated the project.

 Kubota says: “In general there is no clear timeline for access to the sites, perhaps three years, ten years or even decades: periods that can expand beyond our lifetime…. prompting us to consider our relationship with art, the environment and time itself.” Eva Mattes adds: “This is one of the challenges of this exhibition: how to represent something you cannot see?”

The Fukushima Exclusion zone pieces can, however, be accessed through “descriptions, impressions and data”, including the reactions of the former residents, at a “non-visitor centre" which launches at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo on 19 September.

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MUST SEE: See the Amazing Steel Maze Constructed in Former Belgian Coal Mine Turned Art Space

A new installation featuring a huge labyrinth has opened at the art center C-Mine in Genk, Belgium. So if you want to get lost, this is the best place to do it.

Belgian artists and architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout van Vaerenbergh are the creators of the dazzling maze, which is one kilometer long and made of five-foot tall steel walls. Some of these walls feature shapes cut out of the steel, offering viewers a "window" to other parts of the installation. These geometric cut-outs, reminiscent of Richard Serra's large-scale steel sculptures, provide guests with a disorienting and imposing experience.

The projects of Gijs van Vaerenbergh merge art and architecture to create fun artistic projects, such as the maze, or innovative solutions to engineering structures such as bridges and houses.

A former coal mine, the C-Mine art center used to be one of three major mines that transformed Genk from a small countryside village into a large town of over 65,000 residents, coming from all over the world. C-Mine also hosted the 9th edition of Manifesta, which took place in 2012.

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MUST HAVE: John Robshaw collaborates with Mondelliani on sunglasses

John Robshaw’s globally-inspired textiles have a way of evoking exotic vacations, so it seems only natural that the designer has lent his hand to the ultimate beach staple: sunglasses. In the funky collaboration with Italian brand Mondelliani—named Sanganer for the Indian city south of Jaipur—Robshaw decorated frames with six prints drawn from his archive of graphic fabrics. From ikats and hand-blocked abstractions to zigzags and indigo designs, the patterns decorate the fronts of some frames and add a subtle punch to the insides of others.

$360 at johnrobshaw.com starting August 1.

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