The Japan Foundation organizes the Japan Pavilion Exhibition at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia held in Venice, Italy.
In the Biennale Arte 2019 which will be held at the same venue from Saturday, May 11 to Sunday, November 24, the Japan Pavilion will present an exhibition titled “Cosmo-Eggs,” curated by Hiroyuki Hattori and featuring works by four artists who are working in different specialties – artist, composer, anthropologist and architect.
Set against the backdrop of the curator’s and artists’ interest in how and in what places we can survive, the exhibition explores various forms of coexistence of differences. This exhibition takes as its starting point the “tsunami boulders” that exist in various parts of the world. Through videos, documents, music, and spatial layout, it then explores the subject by layering the existence and acts of human beings with the spatiotemporal environment of the Earth.
Japan Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Commissioner: The Japan Foundation
Artist： Motoyuki Shitamichi ｜ Artist
Toshiaki Ishikura｜Anthropologist / Associate Professor, Akita University of Art
Fuminori Nousaku｜Architect / Associate Professor, Tokyo Denki University
Curator：Hiroyuki Hattori｜Curator / Associate Professor, Akita University of Art
Venue：The Japan Pavilion, Giardini della Biennale
Padiglione Giappone, Giardini della Biennale, Castello 1260, 30122 Venezia
Exhibition period：from May 11 to November 24, 2019
Organizer: The Japan Foundation
With special support from: Ishibashi Foundation
Supported from：Window Research Institute, gigei10
In cooperation with: Canon Marketing Japan Inc., Canon Europe Ltd., DAIKO ELECTRIC CO., LTD
ABOUT THE COMISSIONER
The Japan Foundation, the organizer and commissioner of the Japan Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, is Japan’s only institution dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world. It was established in 1972 as a special legal entity supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was reorganized as an independent administrative institution on October 1, 2003. The Foundation has 25 overseas offices in 24 countries and creates opportunities for people-to-people interactions through conducting various activities and information services to deepen mutual understanding between the people of Japan and other countries/regions with its mission statement: Cultivating friendship and ties between Japan and the World.
Questioning Ecologies of Co-Existence through Converging Collaborative Resonances and Dissonances
This project facilitates a collaboration between an artist, composer, anthropologist, and architect with aims to create a platform to consider the ecology in which humans and non-humans coexist, as well as questions of how and in what places we can live within our world. The Japanese archipelago, which is an area that frequently suffers from natural disasters, had experienced the distortions of modernization reflected through the significant damages to the nuclear power plant due to the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. While capitalism continues to permeate our entire world, discussions on the advent of the “Anthropocene,” a new geological era brought on by the explosive growth of human activity, is also becoming increasingly active. In times when we as humans have expanded the theater of urban life across the limited space of the earth, how must we consider the significant impact that our actions have on its environment?
This exhibition takes as its starting point the tsunami boulder artist Motoyuki Shitamichi came across in the Miyako Islands and Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa, which he has continued to photograph over the past several years. These large natural boulders have been washed ashore from beneath the ocean. While they exist within close proximity to everyday human life, some become home to new plant life and colonies for migratory birds.
Taro Yasuno presents a composition reminiscent of bird song through Zombie Music –automated sounds played mechanically on a series of recorder flutes. The balloons extending from the Japan Pavilion’s pilotis through to the exhibition room fulfill the function of lungs that supply air to the instruments.
The title Cosmo-Eggs is derived from the various myths throughout the world concerning the birth of humans and non-human existences from the Cosmic-Egg. Toshiaki Ishikura, an anthropologist who specializes in comparative mythology, references local beliefs, mythology, and folklore related to tsunami in various parts of Asia such as the Ryukyu region and Taiwan to develop a new mythological allegory that reconsiders the relationship between humans and nature.
The Japan Pavilion designed by Takamasa Yoshizaka, takes on a structure comprising a square floor plan and a skylight in the central roof, a hole in the floor, and four columns spirally arranged along its periphery, bringing to mind Le Corbusier’s “Museum of Unlimited Growth.” Architect Fuminori Nousaku interprets the various elements of this architecture, linking together the collection of works across different genres, and developing a reciprocal relationship between them and the architectural space to create a unified spatial experience.
Footages of individual tsunami boulder each loop in their own distinct cycle, while the self-generated Zombie Music constantly changes as it is performed sporadically, causing various narratives of coexistence to be engraved into multiple places. At times the video, music, text, and space as a whole come together in harmonious resonance, and conversely there are moments of dissonance when everything conflicts and fiercely clashes against one another. Through a “collaboration” that opens up a place for continuous generation and change by means of overlaying heterogeneous creations by individuals of different areas of expertise as they are, we serve to question the ecology of symbiosis and coexistence.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Hiroyuki Hattori（b.1978, Aichi）Hattori earned his MArch from Waseda University in 2006. He was curator at the Aomori Contemporary Art Centre at Aomori Public University from 2009 to 2016, and has been an associate professor at Akita University of Art since 2017. Hattori explores the relationship between art and public space through exhibitions, research and projects carried out mainly in Asia. Recent curatorial projects include Media/Art Kitchen (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, 2013–14), Aichi Triennale 2016 (Japan), ESCAPE from the SEA (Malaysia, 2017), and Going Away Closer (Cuba, 2018).
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Motoyuki Shitamichi（b.1979, Okayama）Shitamachi earned his BFA in painting from Musashino Art University in 2001. He mounted solo exhibitions at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art Library in 2015 and Kurobe City Art Museum in 2016, and has participated in international and group exhibitions including Gwangju Biennale 2012 (Korea), Asian Art Biennial 2013 (Taiwan), Aichi Triennale 2013 (Japan), Okayama Art Summit 2016 (Japan), and ESCAPE from the SEA (Malaysia, 2017). He was a recipient of the Noon Award for Emerging Artist at Gwangju Biennale 2012 and the Photo City Sagamihara Award for Emerging Professional Photographer in 2015.
Taro Yasuno（b.1979, Tokyo）Yasuno earned his BMus in Composition at Tokyo College of Music in 2002, and MA from the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in 2004. He was a research assistant from 2008 to 2010 in the Department of Musical Creativity and the Environment at Tokyo University of the Arts, and currently the part-time lecturer at Nihon University College of Art and Tokyo Zokei University. He held the solo exhibition / concert Dance Macabre (Kyoto Art Center, Japan, 2014) and The Mausoleum II (BankART, Japan, 2017). He has participated in group exhibitions and festivals including Tokyo Story (Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan, 2015), Zombie Opera “Dance Macabre” (Festival/Tokyo 15, Japan), Our Masters: Tatsumi Hijikata / glossolalia (Asia Culture Center, Korea, 2016) and Radio Azja (Teatr Powszechny, Poland, 2017). He took first place in the 7th JFC Composing Competition in 2013 and was the recipient of the Genichiro Takahashi Prize at Art Award In the CUBE 2017 and honorable mention at the KDCC2018.
Toshiaki Ishikura（b.1974, Tokyo）Ishikura completed his credit requirements for the doctoral program at Chuo University Graduate School of Policy Studies in 2010, thereafter leaving the school. He was a research assistant from 2009 to 2011 in the Institute for Art Anthropology at Tama Art University; has been a researcher at the Institut pour la Science Sauvage at Meiji University since 2011; and from 2013 to 2016 was a full-time lecturer at Akita University of Art, where he has been an associate professor since 2017. His co-authoring publications include Yasei meguri: Rettō shinwa o meguru 12 no tabi (A tour of the wild: 12 journeys revolving around myths of the archipelago) (photographs by Masaru Tatsuki; Tankosha, 2015) and Lexicon: Contemporary Anthropology (co-editor Katsumi Okuno; Ibunsha, 2018), among others.
Fuminori Nousaku（b.1982, Toyama）
Nousaku earned his Dr.Eng. at the Tokyo Institute of Technology Department of Architecture and Building Engineering in 2012. He worked with Njiric+Architekti (Croatia) in 2008, and established Fuminori Nousaku Architects in 2010. He was as an assistant professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology from 2012 to 2018, and has been an associate professor at Tokyo Denki University since 2018. Noted works include Guest House in Takaoka (Japan, 2015), Bamboo Theater (the Philippines, 2017) and Holes in the House (Japan, 2017–). He was awarded the SD Review 2013 Kajima Prize, Special Mention for the Japan Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2016, and shortlisted for SD Review 2017.
EXHIBITION IN JAPAN
The ARTIZON MUSEUM, Ishibashi Foundation (from July this year onwards, the Bridgestone Museum of Art will change its name and is scheduled to reopen in January 2020) will be organizing a homecoming exhibition after the end of the Japan Pavilion Exhibition with the aim of introducing the exhibits featured in the Japan Pavilion of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia widely to the Japanese audience.
Since its founder Shojiro Ishibashi first made a donation to the construction of the Japan Pavilion at the Giardini (one of exhibition venue of La Biennale di Venezia) in 1956, the Ishibashi Foundation has provided continuous support to the Japan Pavilion. This exhibition is one of the projects that represent a fresh start for the ARTIZON MUSEUM, Ishibashi Foundation, and will be held in the first year of the reopening of the Museum. Together with curator Hiroyuki Hattori, the Museum will reconstruct and present the “Cosmo-Eggs” exhibition.
Exhibition title：Exhibition in Japan of the Japan Pavilion Exhibition at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (Provisional title)
Venue：ARTIZON MUSEUM, Ishibashi Foundation (from July this year onwards, the Bridgestone Museum of Art will change its name and is scheduled to reopen in January 2020)
Exhibition period：April 18 to June 21, 2020 (Tentative)
Organizers：ARTIZON MUSEUM, Ishibashi Foundation, and The Japan Foundation