One of the main aquarium instillations. Image Courtesy of Blouinartinfo

Art & Travel: Art Aquarium

One of my favorite things about traveling is that when you’re in another city or country you have the opportunity to discover different cultures, take in the sights, and enjoy the local cuisine. One of my travel traditions is to to visit an art exhibit or museum that exhibits local talent, because it provides me a glimpse into the values and mindset of the place I’m visiting. I’m hoping to continue an ‘Art and Travel’  segment that highlights either exhibits I’ve seen personally, or ones that are upcoming around the globe that I’d love to see. Here’s a glimpse into an exhibit I visited last summer that perfectly blended art, culture, and history. 

Hidetomo Kimura’s Art Aquarium

One of the main aquarium instillations. Image Courtesy of Blouinartinfo
One of the main aquarium instillations. Image Courtesy of Blouinartinfo

In Japan there is nothing more ubiquitous than the goldfish; they can be seen lulling in the cool waters of reflection pools at the local shrine, evading being caught by old and young alike at festival game booths, and gracing the yukata of stylish ladies. It is nearly impossible to evade these lucky fish when you visit Japan today, but this wasn’t always the case. Goldfish, or kingyo (金魚), first came to Japan, in about 1502. At this time they were few and thus considered a rare and precious item belonging only to those of power and influence. It wasn’t until the Edo Period (1603-1867) that the presence of goldfish spread to the entire population and began to influence art and fashion, appearing on woodblock prints and kimonos. Kimura’s exhibit aims to recreate the ambiance of Edo Japan and the reign of Kingyo for this years theme: “Cool Goldfish of Edo”.

Kimura’s art aquarium is a relaxing way to beat the heat of Tokyo summer. A perk, in the evenings the exhibit turns into a lounge where you can order a glass of champagne or sake while enjoying the languid movement of the surrounding goldfish dancing to a DJ’s set. If you didn’t catch Kimura’s exhibit this past summer, he puts on a fresh art aquarium exhibit every year. Location details at the bottom of this post.

A projected kimono with live goldfish mimics the authentic kingyo adorned kimono from the Edo period on either side.
A projected kimono with live goldfish mimics the authentic kingyo adorned kimono from the Edo period on either side. Taken on my Iphone
The magnum opus of the exhibition, The Four Season Aquarium. The projection changes to depict spring, summer, fall, and winter
The magnum opus of the exhibition, The Four Season Aquarium. The projection changes to depict spring, summer, fall, and winter. Image Courtesy of culture.cdjapan
Image Courtesy of Spoon&Tamago
Image Courtesy of Spoon&Tamago
A kaleidoscope world drawn by the goldfish. When the fish swim by the lens, the pattern changes as though you are rotating the kaleidoscope. Image courtesy of Japan Times
A kaleidoscope world. When fish swim by the lens, the pattern changes as though you are rotating the kaleidoscope. Image courtesy of Japan Times

Hidetomo Kimura’s Art Aquarium
Dates: Held annually July-Sept
Times: Art Aquarium 11am-7pm
Night Aquarium 7pm-11:30pm
Venue: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall-5F Coredo Muromachi, 2-2-1 Nihombashi-Muromachi,                   Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Admission: 1,000yen for adults, 600 yen elementary school age and under
URL: h-i-d.co.jp/art/index.html or www.facebook.com/artaquarium1

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