I’ve been to see the Dandans Collective show at Browse & Darby and absolutely loved it. Judging by the amount of red dots next to the pictures on the first day of opening, I’m not the only one. I wish I could show you all of them, but there were eighteen artists showing in an exhibition spread over three floors, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to make do with my personal choice of the best.
Dandans is a group of young Japanese artists – the name comes from the Chinese character ‘dan’ meaning ‘group’ and the French word ‘dans’ or ‘in’. The ethos of the group is that the artists should have total freedom to challenge and create as they wish, without the boundaries and hierarchies of some artistic groups.
Their website lists more than fifty artists; those selected by the wider collective to exhibit in London work in a variety of styles and techniques. What they have in common is the way they combine an openness to new ideas with a commitment to Japanese aesthetic traditions.
Top of my list is Kotaro Isobe. His Biotype 1 (Tree Frog) (mineral pigments on Japanese paper) is shown at the top of this post. Here is Biotype 2 (Dragonfly).
Isobe says ‘my works focus on the theme: “The places where creatures dwell.”
We share the spaces in which we go about our lives with numerous small living things throughout the seasons. Like bugs which gather on flowers, or frogs and dragonflies moving about in lakes and rice paddies, there are many creatures all around us.
I use the traditional techniques of Japanese style painting to show the charm and beauty of these small creatures and plants.’
Chisato Tanaka’s work has an immediacy and presence that leaps out at you.
Immortal Body (oil and acrylic on canvas)
Shiho Fujii makes realistic representations of everyday objects. To be honest, I thought this collection of acorns was real until I read the catalogue.
Part of life – in common scenery – acorns (ceramics and spray paint)
Yu Shinomiya’s Notation drawing (scores) 060 (paper and CD) is both visual and auditory – you can pull a cord attached to a CD player by the picture and hear the music being played.
Yuka Namekawa makes engraved translucent sheets.
Lamb and such (acrylic sheet and resin)
Hirosuke Yabe, Ask and it will be given to you (acrylic on wood, mirror)
Yuya Fujita, YF485 (oil on canvas)
Masaya Eguchi’s works look like silk cushions.
Hours I took on (mineral pigments, mica, gofun, sumi, metal powder, linen, wood, resin)
Chiharu Kinoshita, Composition of a water lily and six fish (silk, gold leaf, mineral pigment, sumi)
Mitsuko Noguchi, The Flower Field is Endless (silver foil and mineral pigments on Japanese paper)
Fumihiko Sendoda is perhaps the most traditional of the artists on show.
The blue sky is sandwiched between Wu mountains (ink and watercolour on paper)
I’ll end with Hiroshi Kato, because I loved his delicate pictures of sparrows.
The two sparrows – gold and The two sparrows – black (chinese ink and gold leaf on Japanese paper)
I’ll be going back for another look at this fascinating exhibition, and I think you should go and see it too. It’s free and runs until 7 November at Browse & Darby on Cork St, Monday-Friday: 10am-5.30pm; Saturday: 11am-2pm. Nearest tube: Green Park.