Created and exhibited in the INTERSECT BY LEXUS – TOKYO ground-floor Garage, Ryu Itadani’s “A Room in The Room” offers guests the chance to enjoy a unique café experience inside a work of art until November 16.
Completed gradually from October 23, we spoke to Itadani about the highlights of the installation.
A Mysterious Room That Feels Both Familiar and Unfamiliar
The artwork on the walls features Bauhaus-style classic glass shelves mixed with 1970s lighting designed by Ingo Maurer, as well as small objects like correction fluid and toilet paper that feel very much part of everyday life. “There’s the bicycle that I usually ride and my favorite stationery items,” Itadani explained. “But normally, there wouldn’t be a Grecian column inside a house! ‘A Room in The Room’ is someone’s room, but also no one’s room. There’s no sense of the owner’s gender, race, or nationality. I’ve lived in various countries and places, so I made a space that feels very mixed.” As Itadani says, the room is decorated with familiar elements, while the space also offers an experience, filtered through Itadani’s sensations and those colors, of another world entirely.
An Artwork Born at INTERSECT BY LEXUS – TOKYO
“The picture of the penguin is a motif from when I had a solo exhibition at Pola Museum Annex in Ginza. What seems to be a LEXUS vehicle is a children’s toy from a LEXUS dealer’s showroom in Dubai. The room is fictional, yet it has its basis in things that I actually saw and heard about.” As one example of how the artist’s playfulness is embedded all around the installation, on the spines of the books on the shelves are the names of permanent members of the United Nations Security Council or countries where Itadani has previously lived. Unlike the art that he did for murals in Berlin, though, these drawings on three-dimensional objects were created entirely live during the exhibition period. “That’s why there are the CRAFTED FOR LEXUS sunglasses, which I noticed when I was working in the space, or the shrimp cutlet sandwich that I had one morning. I put in the LEXUS car key that was right there when I entered the space,” laughs Itadani. “I spoke with guests when they came to see the work in progress, taking inspiration from them and gradually adjusting the art. Unlike the normal situation, where I work all alone in a studio, here I could interact and, as befits the name of this venue, intersect with others, integrating the sensations I gained from that and creating my work while having lots of fun.”
A Truly Luxury Space That Exhibits the Moment of Creation
“Everyone thinks I do just one coating to make my work, but that’s actually not the case. A car body looks better if it has several coats of color, right? It’s the same for my art. The colors are matte and opaque, but the canvas sticks out, so I apply three or more coats.” While waiting for it to dry, he moves a table or sometimes a box, in this way continuing to work on the artwork bit by bit. “When I was in Berlin, I used models and shared images with INTERSECT BY LEXUS – TOKYO. But when I actually came into the space, I realized that the table was really big,” he laughs. “Things don’t advance instantly, so I change where I am working or shift from applying colors to drawing monochrome lines, like how some days you drink coffee but other days you want to drink tea. I kept my mind balanced like that.”
Imagining a Story from the Images, and Relishing the Joy of Immersing Yourself in the Picture
In this room, Itadani wants you to create an image of the owner. Though all of the elements in the artwork are related to episodes in Itadani’s life, the viewer is encouraged to imagine his or her own story. “There is no ‘right answer.’ I hope that the people who come to see the artwork use their imaginations and discuss it—that it leads to communication.” It is also fun to take photos of the room. “While I did the tools scaled up to be several meters long, I did the coat, chairs, and so on at their actual size, so I want people to take photos with themselves in the space. If real people are there, it looks more like a photo of someone’s room. Try immersing yourself in the art, like you are actually entering the room.”
At the back of the room is a “window,” which is actually a video screen showing Itadani’s past work. Here you can see murals that no longer exist, making this yet another invaluable aspect of the exhibition. With the time we spend at home now so increased, viewing up-close the vibrant and intricate details of this room may very well give you tips for how to redesign your own decor! Enjoy a cup of coffee while sitting in a corner of Itadani’s art installation. Don’t miss this opportunity to catch one of the must-see artworks of the year at INTERSECT BY LEXUS – TOKYO.