E-Issue 07 –– AUH
Winter 2023-24

January 29th, 2024

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in Abu Dhabi/Dubai
  3. Cover Interview: Shaikha Al Ketbi on Darawan
  4. Rapport: Public Art in the Gulf and a Case Study of Manar Abu Dhabi
  5. Hashel Al Lamki’s Survey Exhibition Maqam Reflects on a Decade of Practice in Abu Dhabi
  6. “You Can’t Stand on a Movement”: Michelangelo Pistoletto Interviews Benton Interviewing Pistoletto

Winter/Spring 2024

Curators Interview May 14, 2024
AUH Embracing Change through an Open System: Maya Allison and Duygu Demir on “In Real Time” at NYUAD Art Gallery

About ––

    What We Do
    Editorial Board

Interviews ––

    Selected Archive

Open Call ––

    E-08 Seoul

Newsletter ––

Chronological Archive ––

    Selected Archive

Artist Interview November 18th, 2016
AUH Raed Yassin in Abu Dhabi

Editorial March 1st, 2018
AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas

Exhibition Listing May 22nd, 2018
DXB Christopher Benton: If We Don't Reclaim Our History, The Sand Will

Artist Interview June 15th, 2018
TYO An Interview with BIEN, a Rising Japanese Artist

Artist Interview July 17th, 2018
TYO Rintaro Fuse on Selfies and Cave Painting

Artist Interview August 28th, 2018
BER Slavs and Tatars: “Pulling a Thread to Undo The Sweater”

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
PAR Hottest Spices: Michèle Lamy

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB
Summer 2020

August 1st, 2020

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

Fall/Winter 2020-21

Artist Interview August 23rd, 2020
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Artist Interview August 24th, 2020
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space

Artist Interview August 26th, 2020
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations

Market Interview August 28th, 2020
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting

Exhibition September 1st, 2020
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi

Market Interview September 4th, 2020
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Artist Interview September 7th, 2020
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear

Artist Interview September 10th, 2020
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia

Curator Interview September 14th, 2020
UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community

Exhibition Review September 24th, 2020
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

Artist Interview September 27th, 2020
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh

Market Interview October 14th, 2021
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers

Exhibition Review October 19th, 2020
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?

Exhibition October 22nd, 2020
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ

Exhibition Review October 22nd, 2020
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE

Book Review October 28th, 2020
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus

Exhibition Review November 13th, 2020
Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre

Exhibition Review November 16th, 2021
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye

Exhibition Review November 19th, 2020
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020

Exhibition Review November 21st, 2020
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020

AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421

Exhibition Review December 9th, 2020
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

Curator Interview January 25th, 2021
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists

Exhibition Review February 21st, 2021
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists  

🎙️GAD Talk Series –– Season 1 2020

November 1st, 2020
1. What is Global Art Daily? 2015 to Now

November 16th, 2020
2. Where is Global Art Daily? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners

November 29th, 2020
3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover

December 20th, 2020
4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor

January 27th, 2021
5. How To Create Digital Networks in The Art World?

E-Issue 02 –– NYC
Spring 2021

February 21st, 2021

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

Spring/Summer 2021

Exhibition Review March 3rd, 2021
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

Exhibition Review March 7th, 2021
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421

Curator Interview March 21st, 2021
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition March 28th, 2021
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks

Exhibition Review April 1st, 2021
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows

Exhibition Review April 5th, 2021
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes

Exhibition April 16th, 2021
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy

Artist Interview April 26th, 2021
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto

Exhibition Review April 27th, 2021
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel

Artist Interview April 28th, 2021
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited

Exhibition May 9th, 2021
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London

Artist Interview May 11th, 2021
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity

Curator Interview May 20th, 2021
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre

Market Interview May 26th, 2021
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age

Exhibition June 11th, 2021
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor

Exhibiton Review June 20th, 2021
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421

Artist Interview June 30th, 2021
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka

Exhibition Review August 9th, 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections

E-Issue 03 ––TYO
Fall 2021

October 1st, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

Fall/Winter 2021-22

Market Interview October 6th, 2021
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance

Exhibition October 7th, 2021
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity

Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

Exhibition Review October 16th, 2021
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022

Artist Interview February 26th, 2022
TYO Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project

Artist Interview March 10th, 2022
DXB Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022

Exhibition March 11th, 2022
DXB Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022

Exhibition Review March 14th, 2022
DXB Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?

E-Issue 04 –– IST
Spring 2022

March 15th, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO

Spring/Summer 2022

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

Market Interview March 28th, 2022
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models

Exhibition April 23rd, 2022
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall

Exhibition May 6th, 2022
Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”

Artist Interview May 13th, 2022
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Artist Interview June 13th, 2022
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition June 21st, 2022
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis

Exhibition June 27th, 2022
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks

Curator Interview July 9th, 2022
IST Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS

E-Issue 05 –– VCE
Fall 2022

September 5th, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

Fall/Winter 2022-23

Market Interview June 28th, 2022
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe

Exhibition November 11th, 2022
“Atami Blues” Brings Together UAE-Based and Japanese Artists in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX

Exhibition December 2nd, 2022
TYO Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo

Artist Interview December 9th, 2022
DXB Navjot Altaf Unpacks Eco-Feminism and Post-Pandemic Reality at Ishara Art Foundation

Artist Interview January 8th, 2023
TYO Shu Yonezawa and the Art of Animation

Artist Interview January 19th, 2023
NYC Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces

Exhibition Review February 9th, 2023
DXB Augustine Paredes Builds His Paradise Home at Gulf Photo Plus

Artist Interview February 22nd, 2023
DXB Persia Beheshti Shares Thoughts on Virtual Worlds and the State of Video Art in Dubai Ahead of Her Screening at Bayt Al Mamzar

E-Issue 06 –– DXB/SHJ
Spring 2023

April 12th, 2023

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Jumairy
  4. Rapport: Art Dubai 2023
  5. Highlights from Sharjah Biennial 15
  6. Is Time Just an Illusion? A Review of "Notations on Time" at Ishara Art Foundation
  7. Saif Mhaisen and His Community at Bayt AlMamzar

DXB Christopher Joshua Benton to Debut Mubeen, City as Archive at The Third Line Shop in Collaboration with Global Art Daily

🔍 Legal

2015-24 Copyright Global Art Daily. All Rights Reserved.


An Interview with BIEN, a Rising Japanese Artist

By Sophie Mayuko Arni

Published on June 15, 2018

        I met BIEN in Shibuya as he was getting ready to show at the VOLTA Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland. The young Japanese artist has been getting quite some attention in Tokyo recently, with his solo show at the BLOCK HOUSE TOKYO and his inclusion at the star-studded Watari Museum of Art's Rebel Without a Cause exhibition. BIEN is an artist from Tokyo, who loves hot dogs as much as drawing, who is inspired by old character shapes and graffiti to create striking abstract compositions. A fountain of influences and a genuine curiosity drives BIEN to reach purity of thought and shape in on his canvases, murals, and drawings. We met at Wired Café, on the 7th floor of Shibuya's Tsutaya for a discussion on graffiti, drawing, and artistic experimentations.

BIEN, Haunted Castle, 2018. Cutting sheet on wood. 91 x 91cm. Exhibited at BLOCK HOUSE Tokyo. Image courtesy of the artist.

- English translation follows -

S.A.: -インタビューありがとうございます。Global Art Dailyマガジン第一号刊行の際、Side Core のリサーチをしている時、Bienさんの作品に出会いました。2016年の石巻でのReborn Art Festival にSide Core と共に参加なされて、その後、東京では、Block Houseでのsolo show, "Woozy Wizard"展、そして、今年は、Watarium Museum of Contemporary Art でのメイジャーグループ展に参加しましたね。私の最初の質問は、あなたのストリートアートとストリートカルチャーへのルーツについてです - Side Coreの活動を中心とした -。あなたの作品はグラフィティーアートからインスピレーションを得た作品と言えますか? ストリートにおいて、グラフィティー活動をしたことがありますか? あなたは、東京で生まれ育ちましたが、どのように東京が制作活動に影響しましたか?

BIEN: - そうですね、ストリートカルチャーからの影響は、すごく得ています。グラフィティーアートとか。例えば、僕の線は、文字とか、いろいろなキャラクターの形を崩して描いています。グラフィティーも文字を解体して、崩していった表現だったり、スプレーで太い線が一気に描けたりとか、そういうところからも影響を受けていると思います。


BIEN: -あります!最初はポスターを貼ったりとかしていました。どちらかというと、まずグラフィックなものを作って、それをスティカーにして外に貼る、原宿とかで、そういう活動は、したことがあります。


BIEN: -別に意識したことはありません。ただ、最近になって、地方へ行ったり、外国へ行ったりする機会が増えて、外から東京を見ると、面白いところだなと思います。また、アーティストとか、活動家が、身近に居るということは、刺激的です。

-Watarium Museum での『理由なき反抗』のグループ展を見た時、あなたの作品は、私たちの飽和した世界で、造形を超えて生み出す未加工で、新しいエネルギーを語っていると強く感じました。私は、あなたのラインをピュアで、無垢で、無邪気で、勇気ある自己表現だと考えています。あなたの抽象的表現とラインのチョイスには、他にどんな意味がありますか? あなたのラインの形やコンポジションの背後に、例えばアニメのキャラクターとかの他のインスピレーションがありますか?

BIEN: -制作をする時は、いろいろなキャラクターの形とか、文字を見て、動かしていく、そして、そこから解体作業をして、ピュアな線を求めていきます。


BIEN: -確かに、僕が表現したいものは、子供が描いた落書きのようなイノセントなものとか、あるいは、全くの自然によってできた道端のひび割れだとか、あまりそこに思考の入っていないピュアな線です。それを目指して描いているのですが、僕自身は、無垢には成りきれない、でもそれを目指して描いている部分はあります。記号的なものというか、人間になる前の線を目指しています。


BIEN: -古い昔の漫画が好きですね。ディズニーの漫画、アメリカ漫画のキャラクターが好きです!父が東京ディズニーランドが大好きで、子供の頃よく連れていってくれたんです。ミッキーマウスとか、ロジャーラビット、トゥーンタウンとか、ユーモラスな動きのある、エネルギーに満ちた、現実ではできないような表現をやってのけるアニメが好きでした。手足が伸びたり、体がペチャンコになったりするキャラクターのトランスフォーメーションが面白くて、大好きです。


BIEN: -やっぱり昔の漫画が好きですね。手塚治虫とか、もっと古い "のらくろ" とか。

-さて、Watarium のグループ展において、あなたは、Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Gilbert & George, Robert Mapplethorpeらと同じ展示室の大きな壁にペイントしましたね。Keith Haringの作品のかけられた壁に自身の作品を描くフィーィングは? どんな思いでしたか? プレッシャーとか感じましたか? きっとあなたにとって素晴らしい経験だったと思います。

BIEN: -Watariumでは、やはり最初、描いている最中にプレッシャーを感じたりしました。まず最初に作品群の設営から入っていって、Keith HaringとかGilbert&Georgeの絵を壁にかけ、そのあとで、最後の2日間くらいの間に、僕に彼らの絵のかけられた同じ壁に描くように言われました。その前まで、ソワソワしていて、自分の壁のスペースはあるけれど、まず他の作品をかけ終わらせなければならないし、じゃあ、その後どうしようか?と考えていました。描き始めの時も、僕は、その場で決めることが多くて、Watariumの時も他の展示物がかけ終わった後で、やっと気分がクリエイティブなテンションになってきて、その時点で、どう描くか決めていきました。始めから終わりまでずっと落ち着かずにいて、どうなるかなぁと頭の片隅では考えていました。ナーバスには成ったけれど、描いている時は、気分も乗り、楽しかったです。いろいろなアーティスト達がこの壁に描いていたのを見てきて、今自分が、観客としてではなく、実際に描いていることが、楽しく嬉しかったです。


BIEN: -24時間です!


BIEN: -いいえ、24時間、眠らずに、ノンストップで仕上げました!壁の高いところに描いたので、三脚を登ったり、降りたり...


BIEN: -いいえ、僕は、プロジェクターは、一切使いません。これは、常に気をつけているところですが、プロジェクターは、使いたくない。ドローイングをする時って、例えばA3くらいの紙に描く場合、下書きせず描きます、いきなり描いていく。その気持ちで、大きい作品もその場で考えて描いていきます。その場で、線を描き足し続けていくので、プロジェクターは使わずに、一本一本その場で決めて、描いていきます。


BIEN: -考え抜いては、いますが、プロジェクターは、使いません。


BIEN: -ホットドッグは、美しいと思います。簡単に食べられるし...ストリートフード的なところも好きです。僕は、シンプルなIKEAのホットドッグがすきです!原宿のニューヨークスタイルのアメリカ人による移動トラックのものは、中でも一番うまいと思います!マスタードとケチャプのラインもいい感じです!

-わかりました ! さて、次の質問です。あなたは、美しく印象的なラインを作り、いつも抽象化され、通常は、一度に一つか二つの色を使いますね。あなたの気に入った色はなんですか?

BIEN: -やはり、ブラックかな。


BIEN: -.........パープル!ちょっとホラー的な、ゴーストや、マジシャンみたいな、古臭くて、未来的でもある、そんなパープルにインスピレーションを感じます。


BIEN: -やはり、ペンです。簡単に自由に描けるし、白と黒のラインも好きです。自由自在なところが刺激的で、面白いです。

-あなたの作品は規律と共にとても流動的です。グラフィック・イリュストレーション、コンセプチャルアート、そして同時にパブリック・インスタレーションとも考えられます。私はまた、あなたが黒と白のコンポジションからプリントとTシャツを制作しているのをInstagramで見ました。ファッションブランドとのコラボレーションとかしたいと思いますか? 村上隆とLouis Vuitton あるいは、Mapplethorpe とRaf Simons など? 商品化、展覧会、コンセプチャルな実践において、特に東京でのアート界の現在の流れについて、あなは、どんな見解を持っていますか?

BIEN: -ファションとアートの共存には、否定的ではありません。僕自身、T-シャツを作っているし、自分が影響された文化の中に、グラフィティーや、ストリートアートがあったわけで、そういったアーティストたちがキャンバスにも描くし、おなじようにT-シャツも作ってる、その壁のないところが好きです。だから、そこには否定的な見解は、ありませんし、むしろ、やりたいです。でも、Louis Vitton とかハイブランドとのコラボとか、そこまでいくと、ちょっと意味が変わってくる気がします。自分では、まだ考えられないですが、でも、もし自分にオファーが来たとしたら、面白いのかなぁとも思います。それを利用して、さらにクリエイティブなことができるのであれば、すごく面白いし、挑戦してみたいです。中学生の頃、いろいろなファッションブランドのロゴやキャラクターが流行っていて、雑誌とかみて、それらのロゴが面白いなぁと思いました。みんながロゴのついた服を着ていて、愉快でした。僕も自分のフェイスロゴの入ったT-シャツを作っています、趣味としてですけれど。

-最後の質問になりますが、あなたにとって成功とは、どんなものですか? あなたが達成したいことは、なんですか?

BIEN: -僕は、自分が表現したいことを、見てくれる人たちとの間において、誤解のないように伝えられる状況をずっと維持していけたらいいなぁと思います。今は、主に平面の作品が多いのですが、いろいろな方向に、自分の興味ある方向に、好きなことを表現していける、そういう作品制作の行動ができる、ということが今のところ成功だと思っています。そのために、日々動いていきたいです。多くの人に僕の作品を見て理解してもらいたいです。


BIEN: -6月11日から16日まで、スイスのバーゼルで行われるアートフェア、VOLTA14 に参加します。そしてその後一ヶ月ほどヨーロッパを回る予定です。今から楽しみにしています!

-バーゼルでの展覧会、私もとても楽しみにしています! ヨーロッパ旅行も素敵ですね!今日は、どうもありがとうございました。

BIEN: -こちらこそ、ありがとう。

Sophie Arni: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. I discovered your work through SIDE CORE, while I was doing research about them for the first issue of GAD Magazine. You collaborated with them for the Reborn Art Festival in Ishinomaki in 2016, and since then you had a solo exhibition, called Woozy Wizard at Block House and participated in a major group show at the Watarium Museum of Contemporary Art. My first question is about your roots in street art and street culture – given SIDE CORE’s practice. Do you define your work as ‘graffiti-inspired’?

BIEN: Well, I got a lot of influence from street culture, especially graffiti. My lines are connected to the shape of various characters and letters. I think I got influenced by that. Graffiti has an expression that comes from decomposing, breaking letters. You can draw bold lines at once with a spray, too. I think my work originates from that practice too.

S.A.: Have you ever done graffiti on the street?

BIEN: Yes, I did! In the beginning, I was putting up posters on the street. I made graphics first, then pasted them outside as stickers. I did that a lot around Harajuku's area.

S.A.: You are born and raised in Tokyo – how did this affect your practice?

BIEN: I've not particularly been conscious about it. However, recently I've had more opportunities to go to other cities in Japan and to travel abroad, so I think I'm at an interesting place to see Tokyo from an outsider's perspective. Also, it's exciting that this city brings artists and leading cultural activities to cohabit, close to each other.

S.A.: When I reviewed your work at the Watarium’s Rebel Without a Cause exhibition, I came to the conclusion that you exude a raw and young kind of energy. You want to create beyond the figurative, perhaps as a contrast to our visually-saturated world. I think of your lines as pure, innocent, and courageous self-expression. Is there another meaning to your choice of abstraction and lines? Are there any other inspirations, such as animation characters, behind your shapes and compositions?

BIEN: When I work, I look at various characters and letters and start to move them. From there I work on decomposing and seek pure lines.

S.A.: Your decomposed, deconstructed lines reach a true essence. A message with words becomes unnecessary and the line itself seems to speak.

BIEN: Certainly, I want to draw pure lines that do not have any thought embedded in them, something like a graffiti painted by a small child, or cracks at a roadside made entirely by nature. But I myself can not be innocent, and there are times that I aim for such effects. I'm trying to draw symbolic things - lines that exist before the human being.

S.A.: Do you get inspiration from manga, anime, or cartoon characters?

BIEN: I like old manga. I like Disney cartoons, especially American cartoon characters. My father loved Tokyo Disneyland and as a child, he often took me there. I like Mickey Mouse, Roger Rabbit, Toontown, and other characters that express humorous movements that can not be done in real life. I like characters that are full of energy. I really like it when a character transforms itself when their hands and legs extend like rubber and the body becomes squashed.

S.A.: Interesting, a lot of American influence. And what about Japanese manga?

BIEN: I prefer old manga. I like Osamu Tezuka.

S.A.: For the Watarium’s exhibition, you painted a huge mural in the same room exhibiting Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Gilbert & George, and Robert Mapplethorpe. What did it feel like to paint on the walls hanging Keith Haring’s works? Did you feel any pressure? I’m sure it was a wonderful experience for you to present next to this major artist.

BIEN: At the Watarium, I definitely felt the pressure in the beginning. I started with setting up the other works, hanging the pictures and paintings of Keith Haring, Gilbert & George, and Mapplethorpe on the wall. Then, in the last 2 days, I was told to paint on the same walls which exhibited their works! I was excited, but even if there was a space for my work, I had to wait until the exhibition set up was done. I was thinking about what should I paint.

When I paint, I often decide on the spot. At the time of Watarium too. After the set up was over, the mood finally emerged out of creative tension. I decided how and what to paint. I felt restless from the beginning to the end. 'What would happen?' was running in a corner of my head. I became nervous but when during the painting process, I started to feel quite well and it turned out to be so much fun! Blasting music and painting this big mural. You know, I've been visiting this museum and I saw many artists who painted on this wall before. It was such a pleasant experience to participate this time as an artist, not as an audience member.

S.A.: How long did it take to finish your wall mural?

BIEN: 24 hours!

S.A.: Wow! I thought at least 4 or 5 days!

BIEN: No, just 24 hours straight. Non-stop, without sleeping! The wall I painted on was high, so it was not easy to climb on the ladder and then get off, climb, and get off again and again.

S.A.: Did you use a projector?

BIEN: No, I didn't use the projector at all. I don't want to use the projector. When drawing on an A3 paper for example, I draw without drafting. I draw directly. With the same feeling, I draw big works on the spot. In the process I decide the lines, one by one.

S.A.: The mural was beautifully executed, it felt like you thought about your lines for a long time. It didn't look like improvisation.

BIEN: Of course I think about the lines. I think it out to some extent, but I don't use a projector.

S.A.: The next question is about hot dogs. I read in a past interview that you love hot dogs and collect images of hot dog's ketchup and mustard patterns. If I may ask, what, in your opinion is the best hot dog in Tokyo?

BIEN: I think hot dogs are beautiful! They're easy to eat as well. I like that they're typical street food. My favorite? I love the hot dog from IKEA. It reached the point of simplicity. But I think the New York-style hot dog from the moving street food truck in Harajuku is the best in Tokyo. They're just delicious.

S.A.: Ok, where can I find the truck?

BIEN: Good question, it's always moving!

S.A.: (Laugh) I'll find it! Well, next question. You create beautiful and striking lines, always abstracted and usually using only one or two colors. Do you have a favorite color?

BIEN: Black.

S.A.: You create many black and white works. What's your favorite color for 2018 then?

BIEN: Purple. I feel inspired by purple. It can look like a horror film, like a ghost, or a magician. Purple is old-fashioned and at the same time futuristic.

S.A.: You also work with wood carving, stickers, stencils, pens, acrylic paint – do you have a preferred medium?

BIEN: I like pens. I can draw easily and freely. And I also like black and white lines, so the freedom of the pen is exciting.

S.A.: Your work is very fluid with disciplines. I can define it as graphic illustration, conceptual art, and at the same time public installation. I also see on Instagram that you are producing prints and T-shirts out of your black and white drawings. Would you want to collaborate with a fashion brand for a limited edition collection? Like Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton, or Mapplethorpe and Raf Simons? What is your view on the current fluidity of the art world, especially in Tokyo, in terms of merchandise and exhibitions?

BIEN: I'm not against the coexistence of fashion and art. I make T-shirts myself, too. I was influenced by a culture of graffiti and street art. This culture draws on walls and canvas and also makes T-shirts. I like the way of creating without barriers. So I don't have any negative opinions on this topic. I'd rather do it. But, about collaborations with Louis Vuitton or the high-end brands: if art goes there, I feel that the meaning changes slightly. I can't think about this yet but if I get an offer, I think it might be interesting. If I can use the opportunity and do more creative things, why not? That would very fun for me, so I'd like to take on the challenge. When I was a junior high school student, various brand logos like Supreme and characters were in fashion and I thought those logos were interesting. I used to spot them in magazines. Everyone was wearing clothes with logos and it was amusing actually, to see this. I've also been making T-shirts with my face logo as a side hobby.

S.A.: It will be our last question, what does success look like to you? Is there anything you’d really like to accomplish?

BIEN: I'd like to maintain a situation in which I'm able to translate what I want to express without misunderstanding to those who see my work. Many of my works are on flat surfaces, but I want to express myself in other mediums too. I'd like to explore various interesting directions. I think at the moment, such a thing is a success. I want to move forward every day. I want many people to see my work and understand what I'm trying to convey.

S.A.: Please let us know your plans for future exhibitions.

BIEN: I'll participate in VOLTA14, an art fair in Basel, Switzerland from June 11th to 16th. And then I plan to go around Europe for a month. I'm very excited.

S.A.: And we are looking forward to following your exhibition in Basel! Thank you very much for today.

BIEN: Thank you. 

The following interview was originally published on Global Art Daily’s main website. 

BIEN (b.1993, Tokyo) graduated from Tama Art University in 2017. He primarily uses drawing and painting to represent his abstract reaction to street culture and animation. His work is rarely figurative, as he prefers to work with outline as a departure and conclusion from these two cultures. In 2016, he participated in a group exhibition ‘Living, Daylights, Room’ at Anagra Gallery (2016). In 2017, he participated in the SIDE CORE’s project ‘Road · Line · Figure’ at Gallery TRAX, Yamanashi, and ‘Reborn-Art Festival’ held in Ishinomaki. In 2017, he also held his first solo exhibition at Block House, Tokyo entitled ‘Woozy Wizard’ where he presented his canvases, drawings as well as a large floor installation. Other group exhibitions include ‘New Art Festival 2017: Loneliness of 150 years’ in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture (2017) and ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2018). He is exhibiting at the Volta Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland this June 2018 with Island Japan.

Published by:


A Global Art Daily Agency FZ-LLC subdivision.
Copyright, 2015-2023.
For reproduction, please contact us.