ECO EDO Nihonbashi Art Aquarium & Night Aquarium 2017
7 July – 24 September 2017
Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall
The “Art Aquarium” produced by a Japanese artist Hidetomo Kimura is a fascinating exhibition that marries art, crafts, design and entertainment. The dazzling show with installations using goldfish in illuminated aquariums has drawn a total of 7.3 million paying visitors over the years. The travelling exhibition is held in two cities, at Nihonbashi in Tokyo and Kyoto in western Japan.
The Nipponbashi exhibition, marking its eleventh year in 2017, evokes the tradition of admiring goldfish in a fishbowl to get a refreshing sensation in summer, a practice that came in vogue in Edo (pre-modern Tokyo) during the Edo period in the 17th century.
This year’s installations are presented under the theme of “Ryugu-jo”, the legendary underwater palace in Japanese folktale “Urashima Taro”. Together, some 8,000 goldfish and sea creatures swirl about in tanks of different shapes, sizes and materials.
◆ Works of art
The aquariums include the tanks shaped like rectangular lanterns (“Andonrium”) and shadow-picture lanterns (“Bonborium”). The “Super Oiran” is as impressive as ever, with 3,000 goldfish swirling in 17 aquariums surrounding a large central fishbowl, symbolizing the red light district of Edo. There are also new works that add fantastical colours to the Ryugu Palace.
The Super Oiran and the Temaririum
Kutani-ware Goldfish Show (new)
The fishbowls are made of exquisite Kutani porcelain. The installations allow visitors to observe goldfish from above, as it should be at a real competitive show. From the side, appreciate the colourful goldfish designs painted on the porcelain works.
The fishbowls are made of Edo-kiriko glassware. The goldfish viewed from different angles always looks beautiful, thanks to the characteristics of the cut-glass technique.
Four Seasons in the Ryugu Palace (new)
Images of the underwater palace are projected on the taller aquariums at the rear. Inside, butterfly koi carp, in the image of the legendary princess, swims elegantly. The aquariums in front display coral reefs.
The aquarium in the shape of Tamate-bako, or a treasure chest, is draped with acrylic material, gorgeously gilded with gold leaf from Kanazawa. In the folktale, the young hero, when leaving the palace, received a treasure box from the princess, who told him never to open it…
Goldfish Hanging Scroll (new)
The movement of goldfish and projected images merge into one in the aquarium in the form of hanging scroll.
◆ Night Aquarium
In the evening, the glittering place gets transformed into a night lounge with DJs, live music and special shows.
◆ Art Aquarium Summer Festival at Fukutoku-no-Mori
For the first time, the Art Aquarium brings a spin-off event to be held at Fukutoku-no-Mori, an open-space outside the building. On the programme: DJs, Bon-odori dancing and summer festival stalls such as “goldfish scooping” and “yo-yo fishing”.
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