Japanese virtual model in the spotlight in Tokyo exhibition

·2-min read
The "immaten" runs until September 2 at the Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo

Just spend a few short moments on Instagram, and you're likely to come across a post from Imma. But the Japanese virtual model has momentarily moved beyond the realm of social media as the subject of the "immaten" exhibition at the Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo.

It's not always easy to distinguish the real from the fake with Imma. Since 2018, the Japanese virtual model has been maintaining an air of mystery with her Instagram posts, where over 328,000 followers check out her ultra-realistic looks and styles. Last year, she even featured among the Polish edition of Forbes' "Women of the Year." Now, Imma's hyper-real appearance is central to the "immaten" exhibition, which runs until September 2 at the Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo.

Thirteen artists, mostly from Asia, are participating in this group exhibition curated by Japanese artist and art director Minori Murata. Among them are Yoshirotten, Kosuke Kawamura, Kim Songhe, Kishi Yuma and the photography duo Toki. They have created works inspired by Imma, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and digital art, all themed around the concept "what is real, and what is fake?"

"Today, we find ourselves amongst the digital world more than the physical. We look at the world through television screens and read the thoughts of others on our smartphones. In a world where information on the internet is sometimes more trusted than what is before our very eyes, new words like 'fake news' emerge in our vocabulary. So, how do people decide whether something is real or fake?", the Diesel Art Gallery explains about "immaten."

Robots: "fake" artists?

In recent years, humanoids have become the new darlings of the art world. The Design Museum, for example, is showing works by Ai-Da, an ultra-realistic android with feminine features, often referred to as the first "robot artist." Ai-Da's self-portraits are the subject of an exhibition running until August 29 in the London museum -- a first for this "artist," best known for her abstract compositions. "I've always been fascinated with self-portraits to self-question what exactly you're looking at," the robot artist recently told The Guardian. The artworks take between 45 minutes and 1hour 15 minutes to create.

While some commentators question the artistic value of Ai-Da's creations, the robot artist told the British publication: "I welcome the chance to create art. One of the most important [sic] to come out of the project is discussion. Art begins as a conversation. It is a group effort and in order for art to be meaningful we need to have a healthy conversation about it."

Caroline Drzewinski