adrianのブログ

チェックと日本の現代美術界についての感想

French theory and art criticism

2009年7月11日


Well, hello Gilles. This fine looking chappie has a lot to answer for. Monsieur Deleuze (and his pal Felix Guattari) have of course for decades been great names to drop in art theory. They crop up a bit in Midori Matsui’s idea of “Micropop” for example, and they are all over the very à la mode debates on nomadism that I hear everywhere—although a lot it, for my taste, is way too redolent of the postmodern theory I first read in the 1980s. One of the most obvious ways in which the Japanese cultural milieu follows trends globally, is in excessive respect for western theory and philosophy - and the fact that stuff still gets discussed here way after its sell-by date elsewhere. For far too long this meant a worshipful importation of (especially) French theory and French theorists as master thinkers.

More to the point is what is Japan exporting in terms of critical theory/ideas? A conference this weekend at Sophia University poses exactly this question, observing how, while debates about “cool Japan” and all that in English are still driven by Anglo-American cultural studies theories (which were themselves based on imports and mistranslations of French theory originally), very little attention has been paid to the specifically Japanese post-Bubble (ie. post 1990s) critical theory that has developed a very original take on Japanese (post)modernity and its post-development crisis. This conference gives an international voice to two of the most important figures in Japan, Shinji Miyadai and Hiroki Azuma, so hopefully things will begin to flow a bit in the other direction.

http://www.fla.sophia.ac.jp/icc/2009/Studies_of_Japanese_Popular_Culture_1.htm

The art world should be taking notice. Japan ought to be thinking more about the significance and impact of its post-Bubble art, just as it has had great influence globally with its post-Bubble architecture (SANAA, Atelier Bow Wow, etc). But are ideas taken seriously enough in the Japanese art world? With print publications disappearing, and the world going online, critical debate about ideas in art is getting lost. It is frequently been observed how there is much less intellectual content in discussions about culture since the 80s or 90s. There’s a lot more communication, maybe, a lot more information, certainly, but is there more discussion—or thought? Its all of a question of “content” of course – which is where the bloggers must come in. Art-It’s site should be a great place for this – for some serious debates, reviews and reflections —alongside all the twittering. Let’s some put critical content back into art debates and discussions. To borrow a phrase beloved of the black crow of death baiting Governor of Tokyo, “Gambarimashyo” (I won’t attempt the clenched fist).



And hello Sarah (Thornton). I’ve just moved to the official AB pages, so you might have missed my blog review of her rather wonderful new book, Seven Days in The Art World, which has just been published in Japanese. Have a look. Dig back and there also reviews of the Takahashi collection and the new Micropop shows in Tokyo among other things. Forthcoming here on this blog will be thoughts on my recent trip to Kanazawa 21st Century Museum, on the Fram Kitagawa philosophy (with Echigo Tsumari 4.0 opening soon), and the upcoming Stitch-by-Stitch show. Mata ne.

ADRIAN FAVELL
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