Welcome Party for Agathe de Bailliencourt at Graf Salon • アガット・ド・バイヤンクールの歓迎会@グラフサロン

There's quite a few connections behind me going to see Agathe de Bailliencourt at Graf Salon.

I'll get around to an entry eventually (still haven't yet), but I work at Osaka's most creative alternative workspace, OOO: Out of Office. This month, OOO is holding a creator in residence program called cOOOkbOOOk, and Agathe is the featuring artist. She's French, but now living in Berlin and travelling the world creating art and art installations.

I love her installations. Dynamic; explosive; intrusive; colourful; lines and scribbles, all kinds of raw feelings mixed together. Check out the installation pictures on her website. On Sunday the 8th of February, in join collaboration with Graf Salon, Agathe created an installation on the 1st floor of the Graf Building in Nakanoshima. Her lines ran all over the floor, up the walls and the glass windows at the front of the building, over the airconditioning, across the roof and around the beams.

Agathe said she has no picture in her head of the final artwork, that it just comes out. When giving a speech about her work, one of the guests asked what happens if she makes a mistake. "I never think of anything I do as a mistake. Anyway, if it's a mistake, you work with it and turn it into something good."

On display were pages from Agathe's notebook (above), containing her day to day experiences in visual format. As you can see, colour is very important in her work. She mentioned to me that the first thing she thinks of is colour; what best suits the space or canvas, or what 'colour' the place is. Berlin is bright pink—all of the electronic music, apparently.

During the day, there was an ongoing workshop where everyone was invited to bring something 'lost and found', and put some life back into it. Agathe encouraged participants to write their name on their items repeatedly, turning their names into the design. "Don't just write your name again and again, try to think about how it's written, and feel how you are using the space. Sometimes white space is also good", she instructed guests. The results were very good, and even if the results weren't good, the exercise was good. I participated, and doing so, I realised that I need to do stuff like this more often. Like, just drawing and scribbling different colours all over random objects. It was so liberating! And doing it in a group really forces questions on yourself, when you see how other people interact with their own works, you began to question your own reasons. How come everyone else is still going? Have I really finished? I felt like I rushed mine a bit (I did the green cup in the picture below).

I want to blog more about what Agathe is doing in the office, where I work. I'll see if I can ask her a few questions as well.

John's Bike • ジョンさんのバイク

You may have seen John riding around on his bike in Osaka. He's hard to miss.

John's bike is a hand-me-down from a traveling band on their way through Asia. He told me that they brought this bike with them to Japan: it had been the length of China before getting here. John let them stay at his place while they were here. "They didn't have much money," he said, "When it came time to shipping the bike back, they couldn't afford it, so they left it with me."

He also said that the previous owner was sad to leave it, and after standing out in the shoutengai for 10 minutes, I understood why. The bike, unlike anything I've ever seen before, is a charming device. People who would otherwise just walk by suddenly ask "Can you really ride it? Can I have a go? Can I have a photo?" Watching people talk about the bike, jump on the front, ask questions, etc. suddenly made me very philosophical about life: why can't there be more objects like this, which draw peoples curiosity and facilitate friendly interaction between total strangers?

John is only more than happy to show people how he rides it, and always invites people to either have a go or jump on the front for a spin. Don't be shy, I had a go, and it was a perfect pleasure.

Below is a photo of me on the front.
No, I'm not sure how drunk the cameraman was.

Gallery Shamua, South Osaka • ギャラリーシャムア、南大阪

On Mondays I often find myself wandering around Yotsubashi and the Horie area, which is always full of creative shops. I can't remember where I got the flier, but one particular Monday I found myself in Gallery Shamua, talking to Hitomi Nuno about her exhibition 'Grand Mary'. Hitomi also works in the Zakka on the floor below.

The exhibition featured lots of handsized Temari • てまり comes up in the dictionary as a traditional Japanese Handball game. They're like balls of twine, but each with it's own unique pattern. She said that each one takes quite a while to make, usually the better part of a day. There were also a couple of very nice flip books featuring Temari that Hitomi San had made.

Gallery Shamua is a single room right up on the top floor (4th), and pops up in quite a few blogs. The hallway out the front of the Zakka on the 3rd floor is also a great information resource for all things creative.

Check it out if you are in the area. The gallery dosen't appear to have a website, but their address is:
Osaka-shi, Nishi-ku, Kita Horie 1-6-4, Oushuukan 3F (Gallery 4F)

Cheese Chikuwa • チーズちくわ

Oh yeah. It's not a Photoshopped picture, this is a genuine product.

Recommended to me by Brad Howe; a recommendation I must pass on to everyone else out there.