Curated by art critic Midori Matsui, a new exhibition explores the "Micropop" imagination in contemporary Japanese art and is being introduced to Vietnamese audience.

Winter Garden features 35 works by 14 young Japanese artists born between the late 1960s and early 1980s.

The artists use banal everyday objects and outmoded fashion in a playful way to create new situations and stories through a style of expression Matsui calls "Micropop".

Winter Garden contains two opposite meanings. On the one hand, it literally means a desolate garden in the wintertime. But it can also be understood as an idiomatic expression referring to a hothouse.

According to Matsui, the first meaning alludes to the difficulties of contemporary life brought on as the result of globalisation, including worldwide economic depression and the disappearance of local cultures and the other is that the image of a hothouse suggests a space that nurtures various organisms.

The exhibition consists of three categories. The first one presents drawings, video and sound installations inspired by seemingly insignificant details of daily life.

The second category demonstrates the creative use of contemporary Japanese subcultures such as manga (comics), anime (cartoons), science fiction, computer games and slapstick comedies.

The third category includes works that incorporate the basic structures of self-generation among plants, animals and minerals.

In Vinyl of Lyota Yagi, the artist uses videos and records in an idiosyncratic way. It took him three years to create the work, in which he froze water in a silicon mold that reproduces the grooves of an audio record on ice. As the disk is played, heat generated by friction causes the grooves to melt and the melody to gradually disintegrate into a repetition of mere sound.

The exhibition also includes three video works by Koki Tanaka, the representative artist for the Japan pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition in Italy , which runs from June 1 to November 28.

This is the first time Micropop, a new concept of Japanese art, has been introduced in Vietnam . We hope that visitors will understand the insights and perspectives of the artists, said Inami Kazumi, director of the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam , the organiser of the exhibition.

The exhibition, which marks the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Year, will be at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hanoi, until June 23 and at the Exhibition House at Ho Chi Minh City Workers Culture Palace at 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in HCM City until June 21.-VNA