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チェックと日本の現代美術界についての感想

10年代の終戦

2012年10月11日

FROM SHINO YANAI, SCREEN MEMORIES (2012), Digital photo Installation

In the heat of mid-summer, I attended the opening of the young curator Yohsuke Takahashi's group show END OF WAR IN THE DECADE OF THE 2010s, at eitoeiko gallery, near Kagurazaka. It was an excellent and very thought provoking show in this beautiful small exhibition space in a quiet residential area. Please enjoy!

The final edited review in Japanese will be published on October 17th by BIJUTSU TECHO. Below is my original draft review in English:


IS JAPANESE CONTEMPORARY ART STILL "POST-WAR" ART?
Adrian Favell

"END OF WAR IN THE DECADE OF THE 2010s"
15 August - 1 September 2012
eitoeiko gallery

Revisiting Noi Sawaragi's famous thesis about the emptiness of Japanese post-war art, and the need to go digging in the dirt to get beyond the trauma, curator Yohsuke Takahashi's small mid-summer show at the exquisite eitoeiko gallery near Kagurazaka was a pointed reminder of the power of these themes. They were the driving force of Makoto Aida's extraordinary series "War Picture Returns" in the 1990s, and the ideas taken to great fame internationally by Takashi Murakami in his "Little Boy" exhibition and book of 2005. Takahashi's show, a spin off from the widely discussed "Hyper Archipelago" exhibition at the Aomori Museum of Art earlier this year, brought together a much younger generation of installation artists still bearing the same scars. "End of War" opened on the ominous date of 15th August and was deleted two weeks later.


TAKAO HIYAMA, "The War and I", date unknown, oil on canvas (910 x 650 mm)

The selection was framed by two works from the "real" war painter, Takao Hiyama. Hiyama's visceral paintings summoned up the physical and psychological damage of his personal participation in the Pacific War. It is often said that young people in Japan have no such memories, yet on the evidence of the works here, the nuclear question still has alarming resonance. Taihei Kimura installed in the centre of the gallery tiny blocks of resin in which smoke, in the shape of a mushroom, is captured from a gunpowder explosion.


SHINO YANAI, "UTSUTSU NATION" (2012), video Installation

Explosions also filled one wall, with Shino Yanai's clever video work "Utsutsu Nation", a prize-winner at this year's Art Award Tokyo. A young female artist, walking into a sad abandoned theme park in a comical style, blows up a landmine with a cartoon hammer covered in flowers. This stood opposite a second video by the artist, in which geisha woman wearing a Noh mask wanders through a US military base. Here, the sense of domination and submission -- both military and sexual -- is pervasive. "Utsutsu Nation", meanwhile, played with words and images to evoke the pathos of the Japanese post-war condition: "Utsukushii kuni" was a favourite term of pre-war Japanese nationalists; the (beautiful) "kawaii" video, a reference to the mindless, sometimes decadent, culture of contemporary Japan; "utsu" means "hit", "utsutsu" means "reality". We are meant to laugh, but it is uncomfortable laughter. Can this explosion perhaps release us, she asks? Above our heads, meanwhile, fluttered a squadron of Shusuke Ao's miniature paper airplanes, military fighters reduced to the impotence of children's toys blown around like a kite in the breeze. Clearly we are meant to think of Japan's imposed pacifist condition, sheltering in the shadow of American power. We are reminded that to save face Japan might still need Uncle Sam to step in to break up the schoolyard squabble over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.


SHUSUKE AO "CAP 'E'" (2012)

The title of the show poses a different question: When will the post-war end? Todai cultural theorist professor Shunya Yoshimi has written recently how Japan must wake up from the dream of endless "nuclear sunshine", provided by nuclear power sold to Japan by Amercia as the energy that would fuel its post-war miracle. The Fukushima disaster, as curator Takahashi points out, reminded everyone of wartime conditions and pathologies. Yet, the everpresent feeling of victimhood still expressed in these reflections raises a further issue. Is Japan now able to recognise that the Fukushima disaster was also a disaster man-made in Japan? The choice today to switch on the reactors or turn them off is Japan's choice alone.

Adrian Favell is the author of Before and After Superflat: A Short History of Japanese Contemporary Art 1990-2011 (Timezone 8, 2012).

ADRIAN FAVELL
http://www.adrianfavell.com

みんなからのコメント

あなたが中で、最後のパラグラフがすばらしいと言ったということを、私は考えます。私は、日本の現代美術できのこ雲を見るためにとても退屈すると感じます。人々がきのこ雲を吸い込むことが現代美術を作ることと等しいと思っていると、私は思います-それはでたらめです。前、ことはいったいどのように半分の世紀より起こりました。そして、追加のない「同時代の人」はどんな新しい解釈でもありえます。細工物が椹木野衣と村上隆によって提供した理論的なフレームワークを越えて、芸術は本稿で何も働かせません。
コメンター
shotaro
2012/10/20 08:41

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