October 9, 2009 / 9:41 AM / 8 years ago

Life's too short, linger over that coffee, artist says

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Next time you’re at your local cafe, don’t gulp down that coffee -- Japanese contemporary artist Rei Sato believes coffee shops harbor precious moments that should be savored.

Sato, 25, recreated her family-run cafe, Tokyo’s Senzai Midor, for an exhibition at a Singapore gallery this week, and will be serving opening-night guests coffee as part of the installation entitled “No Need For Forever.”

“I was told that my father and mother met at a cafe,” she said. “A cafe is a place of mystery. A place where relationships melt together.”

Stuffed animals, lamps shaped like frogs, old books, and a coffee mill are incorporated into the installation, which Sato hopes will become a haven where people can be momentarily free from their busy lives.

In addition to elements of kawaii -- Japanese slang for cuteness -- she projects her poetry on a wall and decorates the room with her paintings and objects from her childhood.

Sato was discovered in 2002 by Japanese contemporary art master Takashi Murakami in an art competition organized by his Kaikai Kiki art collective, of which she is now a member.

A recent graduate from the Ochanomizu College of Fine Arts and Design, Sato has so far held three major solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Paris and New York in addition to taking part in several group shows around the world.

Her work has been described as playful and optimistic, with critics lauding her use of color and bold compositions that include painted images of smiling children and butterflies on photographs of ordinary, urban life.

For her exhibits, Sato usually ships most pieces from Japan and then supplements them with local materials. In Singapore, she uses furniture donated by locals, coffee cups from luxury retailer Hermes which runs the gallery, and cases of the local beer, Tiger.

“No Need For Forever” runs from October 10 to November 29 at the Third Floor - Hermes gallery in Singapore.

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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