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Show & Tell time is coming!

Posted by Dave Bull at 12:36 PM, January 27, 2010

With the end of the 'My Solitudes' project now in sight (although still months away), it's time to stop procrastinating about the 'exhibition' question. Those of you who have been following my work for some time know that there has been a 'disruption' in my long-established exhibition pattern in the last couple of years.

For 19 years I held an annual exhibition every January, but the last few of those were all 'less than successful', and rather than continue pouring money down a black hole (exhibitions here in Tokyo are expensive!) I decided to stop for a while. This made sense from another angle too, as the Solitudes project was clearly going to take a few years, and it seemed logical to wait until completion before showing it. So I just put 'exhibitions' out of my mind ...

But here we are ... with the series coming to an end, there is a decision to be made - have a show, or just hunker down and save my pennies for food?

Before I could make a sensible decision, I needed some data; it was time to get on the train. So one day late last year I printed out a listing of galleries in the Ginza area of Tokyo, along with their rental rates, and headed out to do some scouting. It didn't take long to learn that things are really in flux: around a quarter of them were gone. Shuttered. And my list wasn't all that old. The recession is obviously pounding those places hard.

I wasn't sure whether this was good news, or bad. With far fewer places available, would this make it more difficult to find available space in one of the remaining ones? It turned out - after making inquiries at a few places that seemed suitable (size / price) - that far from being booked up, most places had a calendar full of holes, something that was completely inconceivable just a couple of years ago. In the days when I was booking my annual exhibition in Shinkuku every year for example, I had to put my name down for the week I wanted as far as two years in advance. It seems those days are gone.

Anyway, long story short, after plenty of walking around and looking at available spaces, I settled on one, and - after a bit of 'discussion' - negotiated what I thought was a good rate, and booked it for a date this spring.

It's a very small place, and there will be no room for much more than the Solitudes series, a Mokuhankan corner, and the announcement panel for the next project. The gallery has a VR photo online here, taken during an exhibition some years ago. (Click the red numbers to bring up the VR photo (if you have Quicktime). Drag in the image to turn around, etc.)

It is in a very good location, about one minute from the main Ginza intersection. It's just about 250,000 yen rental (for seven days), which is about half what I paid in the previous much larger places, and well below typical Ginza rates of some years back.

So here we go ... the dates will be March 29 ~ April 4, which gives me time (hopefully) to finish the 12th print, as well as prepare the first one in the new series, for explanation and order taking. (The 'starting gun' on the new series will fire on April 1st, with the first print (and case) being shipped that day.)

The big question on this will be how much response I get from the media when they receive the pamphlet that I will be preparing and sending out soon. They may continue to ignore me, as in the past few years, or maybe they will cover this one. No idea.

And now I have to start to figure out how to fill that long long thin space with an interesting display of these prints. It's about 1/8th the floor area that I had available in the previous few shows, so this is going to be an 'interesting' challenge!


Following comment posted by: Barbara Mason on January 27, 2010 11:40 PM

this looks like a good space, I think if you do a couple of partitions with a v folded screen to break up the space it will make it more interesting rather than a long narrow space...I see lots of possibilities here. You could also hang things from the ceiling, back to back. I have seen that done successfully as it leaves floor space sort of open and gives the illusion of more space than there is.I think you are up for this challenge. Lets hope it is successful

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