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チェックと日本の現代美術界についての感想

Geidai Day

2010年2月24日


Spare a thought for the young hopefuls – about 1,900 of them this year – who this Thursday will be taking up their artist tools and hoping to draw their way into the second round of the selection process to Geidai, Tokyo’s top art school. While Tokyo University of the Arts remains the golden path to career success in the Japanese art world, it offers tuition fees far lower than the other top schools like Tama or Musashino. This means that many of the most socially disadvantaged and poor students can have a go at breaking into the elite art education system. Most of them have been studying like crazy at cram schools for months before the event; some have been known to try seven or eight times before they get in. I’ve never been clear what role family connections, networks, social know-how, and other insider links might play in helping some of the candidates get through, but it is sure that even so there is always hope for the complete outsider to finally get that moment of recognition – and get a place.

The alternative route to education, fame and fortune in the Japanese art world is, if you believe the great man himself, Takashi Murakami’s Geisai talent contest, which is holding its 14th instalment in March, now back at the Big Sight after a temporary “cash poor” relocation to a Saitama warehouse last time (see my blog of 2009/10/24). Participants who have paid and registered for this Spring’s event will be disappointed to learn that the star juror Jeff Koons has dropped out due to a busy schedule. He has been replaced by a famous sociologist-philosopher, Shinji Miyadai—which means I must still have a chance of an invite some time! Other jurors include design consultant, Hiroki Nakamura, otaku professor, Kaichiro Morikawa, Groovisions’ Hiroshi Ito, and Sen So-oku, a classical arts specialist, who (it says here) is 15th Generation Descendent of the Mushako Jisenke Line. Internationally, though, it is a noticeable less high powered line up this time, missing the names (such as Hervé Chandés, Philippe Segalot, Paul Schimmel) that gave the event a tantalising aura of offering artists an international breakthrough in the past.

The price list as always makes interesting reading. A bargain 27,000 Yen buys you a space with no walls that is 180 cm wide and 120 cm deep. Less than two tatami, but enough to sit on. If you are the kind of artist with things to hang on a wall, the smallest booth with walls costs 120,000 for the day. Prizes for larger spaces rise up to 720,000 Yen for the eight hour show. If you want to show a ten meter Silver Buddha or Balloon Dog then I guess you need a lot of cash. Some things are not included. A desk cost 5,000 yen, a chair 1,500, and electric power supply for the day Y10,000. If you want your mum or dad to give you a hand setting up, it costs another Y2,200. This kind of money would buy you a Ginza Gallery for the week in the old days. Still, Louis Vuitton is also helping out as sponsor.

Murakami was himself a graduate of Geidai, famously an artist from a modest social background, who was constantly strapped for cash and always over spending on his projects. By all accounts he was part of a generous student culture at Geidai that sustained and supported each other through the hard times and on small budgets. Some of this art and the ideas that drove it became world famous (see my interview with Min Nishihara and Yutaka Sone from 2009/12/22). But I often wonder whether Murakami, if he were a student today, would have been happy handing over – to a very rich superstar artist-entrepreneur – all their hard earned savings from part time conbini and nomiya jobs, just for the chance to show at a one day art exhibition with several thousand other amateur hopefuls.

As always in the art world, the social mathematics of success and failure are daunting. We can only wish the best of luck to everyone getting ready for Geisai, and all those who are taking Geidai examinations this week.

ADRIAN FAVELL
http://www.adrianfavell.com

みんなからのコメント

Murakostabiは、単に、堕落しているきまり文句を持つ腐敗している人です

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Owl
2010/03/02 17:41

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