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チェックと日本の現代美術界についての感想

Architecture & Morality

2010年1月23日


One of the unexpected side effects of my research on the Japanese contemporary art world has been that I have developed an interest in Japanese contemporary architecture, as an almost inevitable spillover. Not only are many of Japan’s best museums housed in masterpieces by Japanese designers. They are also, undoubtedly more successful and more influential internationally than Japanese artists. This has been underlined recently with the nomination of Kazuyo Sejima – one half of the inspirational architecture duo SANAA – to be the director of this year’s Venice Biennale for Architecture. This is an extraordinary achievement both for a Japanese architect and a woman, but it underlines how massively influential Japanese architects in the world top rankings – from Kishio Kurokawa, Arata Isozaki, Tadao Ando, to Jun Aoki, Ryue Nishizawa and Atelier Bow Wow. I’m no expert, but one of the people who I rely on for insights is Julian Worrall, a lecturer at Waseda University. He has just published this new guide book with Kodansha (above), called 21st Century Tokyo: A Guide to Contemporary Architecture, co-authored with Erez Golani Solomon and Joshua Lieberman, which is an excellent introduction to the subject.

The interesting thing is how architecture is in fact blending into and taking over parts of the fine arts. Much installation work nowadays has an architectural inspiration to it. Avant guard urban thinkers like Atelier Bow Wow essentially make art books as a way of communicating about the city. Some major artists, in the line of Olafur Eliasson, approach their works like architects – or like Junya Ishigami (a favourite of Yuko Hasegawa at MoT) are architects now working as fine artists. And I remember the impressive show, Skin & Bones at Tokyo NACT in 2007, that made connections between contemporary fashion designers and avant guard architects, displayed as an art show. No wonder that gallerists such as Tomio Koyama and Atsuko Koyanagi have also taken an interest recently in the subject. Last summer, TKG put on a show of contemporary architects’ artefacts and designs, as a way of stimulating thought for the need to be creating a proper archive and museum for these achievements.

Worrall is Australian, and worked for the legendary Rem Koolhaas when he was younger. It was an exciting time, but he is convinced that many of the clues to the urban future can be found around him in his home city of Tokyo. Since moving here, he has dedicated himself to explaining the marvels of Japanese urbanism via academic work. He has also launched a research centre at Waseda called LLLABO, “a platform for research, teaching and practice, engaging in contemporary themes in architecture and urbanism inspired by its location in central Tokyo”. His main argument concerns the visionary aspects of “post-Bubble” architecture in Japan and Tokyo, which continues to put this city especially at the forefront of imagining the metropolis of the future. Above all, it’s an architecture that is trying to conceive of more sustainable, modest, and harmonious forms of urban intervention, more in tune with the age and cities we now have to live in. The book is an essential guide for everyone who wants to see this city through fresh eyes.

ADRIAN FAVELL
http://www.adrianfavell.com

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Architecture & Morality
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