2012.9.15 (Sat.) - 2013.3.17 (Sun.)
On the face of it, it seems that modern civil society has secured freedom and material abundance through economic development, science and technology. In our information-oriented society, speed, comfort, and convenience are regarded both as beneficial and wholesome values. At the same time, however, in order to facilitate the pursuit of these benefits, human life has become more and more regimented. In other words, we are controlled by the institutions and authorities of the society to which we belong. The earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 and the Fukushima nuclear disaster completely undermined the sense of security, happiness, and freedom that form the foundations of society. The economic, social, and other systems that democratic societies have chosen in order to realize human freedom have become threats to the very survival of human society.
"Son et Lumière, et sagesse profonde" (Sound and light, and wisdom) explores the potential for humans to confront head on the contradictions in the world and remain standing in the midst of such despair. Some of the artists whose work is on show direct a piercing gaze at human society and bring to light the festering matter. Others embrace despair itself, using methods that can only be described as semi-masochistic to depict individuals who are determined to survive against the odds. Their expression exposes the fabric of a human society that is destitute and helpless. They see in despair the seeds of the future, and in the human condition an existence possessed of a life force that is fleeting yet struggling to survive amidst a maelstrom of suffering and chaos.
(KITADE Chieko, curator of 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)
2012.7.21 (Sat.) - 2012.11.25 (Sun.)
A fresh beauty waits to be discovered—in scenery you pass every day and never give thought to. For the Japanese, beauty was not a transcendental concept but rather a sensitive appreciation of the hidden layers in nature and everyday life. The Japanese Eye means a perspective of “noticing beauty,” fostered through long history.
Since debuting in 2005, fashion design brand matohu has stood out at the Tokyo Collection with its distinctive concept of “creating new clothing from traditional Japanese aesthetics.” As of 2010, furthermore, matohu has each season taken up a traditional Japanese aesthetic concept and expressed it in clothing design under the theme, “The Japanese Eye.”
The Design Gallery at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa will explore matohu’s rediscovery and expression of Japanese aesthetics through such keywords as kasane (layers), muji (plainness), utsuri (reflection), and yatsushi (to assume a humble appearance). Displayed will be matohu’s most representative collection item, “Nagagi”—clothing of unchanging design that matohu newly produces each season in line with the collection theme.
How might traditional Japanese aesthetics be evoked in contemporary lifestyle and a perception of noticing beauty reawakened in our lives? This exhibition will offer a tantalizing glimpse of the answer.
2012.5.3 (Thu.) - 2013.3.17 (Sun.)
This is the second year (in fact, the sixth year of the project as a whole) of the museum’s three-year plan of “the Kanazawa Youth Dream Challenge Art Programme: Museum as Mediator”(*1). This year’s theme is “the existence of others,”─encounters and dialogues with others as well as one’s inner self through “seeing, hearing, feeling and expressing.” Musicians, who are interested in sound/music expression and relationships with the society and others, are invited to the museum to collaborate with young people, encourage them to experience the pleasure in expressing without being held back by stereotypical ideas. In order to do that, they need to use their five senses, despite the fact that museums are generally regarded as a place for visual arts. Now the museum faces the space-time axes of music expression.
Notes: (*1) On “the Kanazawa Youth Dream Challenge Art Programme: Museum as Mediator” Based on the recent study which reports that art museum education is useful for the character formation of young people in their late teens, the project of “the Kanazawa Youth Dream Challenge Art Programme” launched by 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa in 2007 aims to create the museum’s original activities to develop wide-ranging local art and culture encouraging young people, particularly those aged between 18 and 40 including “NEET” (not in education, employment or training) and “FREETER” (permanent part-timer), which are today’s problematic social issues, to participate in social activities. With the keyword “Museum as Mediator,” the programs are to be serialized for three years since 2011 to provide and develop “encounters/dialogues with one’s self, others and society.” As the project aims at phased socialization and globalization, there will be better retention rate of capable personnel and the enhancement of management methods. If we shared our local cultural activities with others internationally, we could promote further exchange of information as well as people, and have bright prospects for the 10th anniversary of this project.
2012.4.28 (Sat.) - 2012.11.4 (Sun.)
In light there is darkness, in sound silence. Neither of these pairings are mutually exclusive concepts.
Rather in each case the latter is a property inherent in the former. “Son” is the French word for “sound,”
“lumière” for “light.” The origins of “son et lumière” can be traced back to an event in France in 1952.
Since then the term has come to designate an elaborate outdoor spectacle featuring dramatic sound
effects, narration, and lighting projected onto the façade of a famous building or ruin. Once the sun has
set, lights pierce the darkness, music swells, and the glitzy and magical scene fills the audience with
awe. These presentations impose a rigid uniformity on the place in question, substituting its unique
qualities with superficial light and sound effects.
In this contemporary age of information overload and excessive energy consumption, we find ourselves
at the mercy of mechanical devices that measure and constrain our every waking moment. But once
freed from the tyranny of time, our perception is transformed; ordinary phenomena appear before us in
fresh and new forms. Beams of light, movements of sound, the waning and waxing of the moon, the
patina of age on metal—within these organic temporal spaces, the passage of time is multi-vectored,
and each individual experience becomes a journey with an unknowable multiplicity of meanings.
This exhibition conceives of the artist as a traveler on this journey and reexamines the world through the
prisms of “material,” “transition,” and “time.” In their work, the fourteen artists featured here—Akiyama
Yo, Awazu Kiyoshi, Jan Fabre, Peter Fischli David Weiss, Kimura Taiyo, Kishimoto Sayako, Kusama
Yayoi, Gordon Matta-Clark, Carsten Nicolai, Gerhard Richter, Saito Makato, Tashima Etsuko, Magnus
Wallin, Andy Warhol—impose physical form onto that which is inherently immaterial—the self, images,
and actions—through their mastery of the properties and power of materials. Or, put differently, their
artistic expression as determined by the materials is manifested to us as a state of motion, launching us
on our own unknowable journey.
While the stroll through the cosmos of thought that this exhibition affords visitors may indeed be
transitory and ephemeral, it will leave each person with a unique and indelible memory.