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チェックと日本の現代美術界についての感想

Echigo-Tsumari

2012年8月15日

MIKAN + Sogabe Lab, Gejo Thatch Tower, near Tokamachi city, Niigata


My review of the current Echigo-Tsumari Triennale has just been published online with ART FORUM.:

http://www.artforum.com/archive/id=31641


And here is the original text, if you can't get in to ART FORUM's archives:

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012

Tokamachi and surrounding region
Niigata prefecture, Japan
29 July - 17 September 2012

A year and a half after the Tohoku earthquake in Japan, art producer Fram Kitagawa's vision of an art treasure hunt set in the bucolic, but run down villages, rice fields, mountains and river valleys of this remote northern province, is more relevant that ever. The triennial looks to create a new meaning for the practice of art installation, appropriate to rivitalizing the backwaters of this perpetually post-bubble, post-disaster society. In a mapped out "big field" spread out over 300 square miles, 800 participating artists have renovated more than 40 abandoned houses, and dozens of deserted schools, factories and agricultural sites.

The original highlights of this fifth installment are architectural. Two quirky Tokyo units, Mikan and Atelier Bow Wow, have each constructed three dimensional additions to obscure country rail stations: low budget art spaces that mischievously play with miniaturized scale and local construction materials. Inside a cavernous empty school from the 70s, that looms up forlorn on a hillside, Tadashi Kawamata has built a wooden tower of Babel: a library for the artbook collection of Yusuke Nakahara, donated posthumously by his family. And, in another village, Tsuyoshi Ozawa and "The Committee for the Reproduction of the Tea House Oil Painting Gallery", have installed a vaudeville, tongue-in-cheek reconstruction of the entertainment side show at Asakusa's Senso-ji shrine in Tokyo, which allegedly introduced western oil painting to Japan in 1874.

These are but a taster of what is quite deliberately an impossible triennial. The logistics force viewers to slow down to rural pace, compromise their checklist plans, and instead enjoy the landscapes, local food and chance encounters. The point of the art here is less the content of specific works and more the extraordinary art experience it invents: an emotional reconnection with Kitagawa's core concept of satoyama, the feel of Japan's mythical landscape, between cultivated rice plains and uninhabitable mountains. Forcing both artists and audiences to engage with the landscape and its buildings, an ageing and largely childless population, and a bitter sense of decline after economic boom times, this is social and relational art in its purest form.

ADRIAN FAVELL
http://www.adrianfavell.com

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