Magazine article Artforum International

Arata Isozaki: MISA SHIN GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

Arata Isozaki: MISA SHIN GALLERY

Article excerpt

Tokyo has recently seen a boom in architectural exhibitions at art venues, while a major newspaper featured a series of columns in which renowned Japanese architects commented on the recent and ongoing crises; their professional insights and supposed ability to materialize progressive visions of the near future seemed to give solace to those affected by the country's experience of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear catastrophe. Arata Isozaki, best known for his design of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, may have been better prepared intellectually for this situation than most. In his 1962 essay "Incubation Process," accompanying imaginative drawings of future cities, he writes, "Incubated cities are destined to self-destruct/ Ruins are the style of our future cities / Future cities are themselves ruins." Back then, his apocalyptic vision of urbanization stirred controversy as Japan struggled to recover from wartime ruin; as a result, despite their contextual proximity, Isozaki was opposed by the avant-garde Metabolist group, which aimed to construct an optimistic image of future cities as organically expanding, continuously regenerating themselves. Originally published in a special issue of the art magazine Bijutsu Techo, Isozaki's drawings were displayed in this show as etchings, along with the text and other works from his early career.

Also among the works on view was the silk screen Incubation Process/joint Core System, I 962/1990, an iconic image related to Isozaki's Shinjuku Project: City in the An\ 1960. It shows one of his early inventions, the Joint Core System, a multilevel urban terrain where elevated pedestrian decks and motorways interconnect among cylindrical core structures housing the utilities for the office units that extend horizontally from them. In Isozaki's image, the gigantic cylinders are montaged with the photographic cutouts of the decaying columns of the Temple of Hera, exemplifying his idea of the future city as a ruin. …

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