The Contemporary 2

Who interprets the world?

2015.9.19(Sat.) - 2015.12.13(Sun.)



2015.9.19(Sat.) - 2015.12.13(Sun.)


21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa


Mondays, Sep 24, Oct 13, Nov 24 (Open on Sep 21, Oct 12, Nov 23)


Adult: ¥1,000 (¥800)
University: ¥800 (¥600)
Elem/ JH/ HS: ¥400 (¥300)
65 and over: ¥800

*( ) indicate advance ticket and group rates (20 or more)
*Tickets for this exhibition also enable admission to “Collection Exhibition 1·2”, “BCL Ghost in the Cell” during the same period

For More Information:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Phone: +81-76-220-2800
Facsimile: +81-76-220-2802

In 2015, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is holding a series of exhibitions, entitled “The Contemporary,” presenting contemporary artworks that offer insight into today’s world.
“The Contemporary 1—In Our Time: Art in Post-Industrial Japan,” held this spring and summer, featured artworks by 10 artists and artist groups highly visible on the contemporary scene since 2000. It took four keywords important for understanding Japanese art today—“relationship,” “everyday,” “media,” and “vernacular.”
Next, our autumn and winter exhibition, “The Contemporary 2: Who interprets the world?” asks how contemporary artists rooted in different cultures see and convey the state of the larger world beyond their community. In contemporary society, where “displace” and “crossover” cultures is becoming the normal state, relationships of all kinds are made fluid. Historical perspectives and social values taken for granted until now obtain new meanings, depending on who is doing the interpreting. This exhibition views the diverse artworks born explosively, particularly from regions peripheral to Japan, as “practices for living.” It examines how people living in the same age as we, yet in different time-zones and locations, look at the world.

Works of art are created by freely combining a wide range of materials and methods. They are unique and ambiguous and cannot be reduced to signs interpretable using simple A-B-C or other codes. An individual work is the product of the artist’s words and actions, something both deeply personal and collective. We might say that it expresses the artist’s conscious of the world with which the artists come to grips. What, then, should be our approach to creative expression produced in a different arena informed by a different cultural context? Following the postcolonial critique of the Western Europe-centered historical perspective that prevailed through the latter half of the 20th century, many artists are engaged in taking back the act of interpretation, to seek proper understanding of their works in their own languages instead of words and gestures borrowed from the West. With meanings from different cultures mingled together from innumerable different directions, we must be careful to note that who interprets them can profoundly change those meanings. A space in which visitors can create new empathetic links, Who interprets the world? is an exhibition devoted to artistic expression rooted in different perspectives, an experiment in using culture (works of art) to interpret our world.

Hiromi Kurosawa, Chief Curator 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

*Our exhibition title Who interprets the world? is a translation of the title of the book “Qui traduit le monde?” edited and prefaced by Majima Ichiro. (Jimbun Shoin 2005).

Related Projects

Pedro Reyes’s project: The pUN

The pUN General Assembly is an experimental gathering of volunteer citizen-delegates from as many of the participants and observer states of The People’s United Nations (pUN) as possible. Over the course of two days on 5-6 December, the group used theater games, group therapy, and techniques from social science to grapple with a set of urgent and sometimes unexpected proposals. Playfulness, humor, and experimentation are strategies that allow for creative solutions and imagining a better future.

· The pUN General Assembly
Date/time: Saturday, 5 December 10:00-16:15 / Sunday, 6 December 10:00-16:30
Capacity: 50 persons

· Artist Talk by Pedro Reyes
Date/time: Sunday, 6 December 17:15-18:00
Venue: Gallery 11, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Admission Free
Reservations are not required. Accept first 90 persons on the day.
Consecutive translation from English to Japanese.
*Please note that the doors are closed during each session.


Venue: Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Admission Free / Reservations are not required. Accept first 90 persons on the day.
*Japanese only
*Please note that the doors are closed during the lecture.

· Session (1) “Walls of Life, Corridors of Life — Looking at Translation Again”
Date/time: Friday 16 October, 2015 18:00-20:00
Lecturer: Ichiro Majima (Prof., Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

· Session (2) “El Anatsui — Speaks of the History under His Feet”
Date/time: Saturday 17 October, 2015 13:00-15:00
Lecturer: Yukiya Kawaguchi (Prof., Rikkyo University)

· Session (3) “Connecting with Africa through Marriage—Family, Music and Humanity”
Date/time: Sunday 18 October, 2015 13:00-15:00
Lecturer: Hiroyuki Suzuki (Prof., Kokushikan University)

Workshop with the Aquilizans “From Here to There”

Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan hold a “Moving” theme workshop with participants, taking a different subject each day.
Date/time: Saturday 19 to Monday 21, September 13:00-16:00
Venue: Project Room, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Admission: Free (with ticket to this exhibition)
For: People of ages 10 or older (ages 10 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult)
*with consecutive interpretation
*Details will be available from mid-September

Artist Talk

Session 1 El Anatsui + Yukiya Kawaguchi (Prof. Rikkyo University)
Session 2 Susanta Mandal
Saturday, 19 September Session1 12:30-14:30 Session2 15:00-17:00
Venue: Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Admission: Free
Reservations are not required. Accept first 90 persons on the day.
Consecutive translation from English to Japanese.
*Please note that the doors are closed during each session.

Artists Profile

  • Them 2007 (Production still)
    Courtesy of the artist and
    Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich
    ©Artur Żmijewski

    Artur Żmijewski

    Born in 1966 in Warsaw, Poland, and resides there. Studied with Grzegorz Kowalski at the Warsaw Art Academy. Focuses on social intervention through art. Represented Poland at the 51st Venice Biennale. Has exhibited in Documenta 12 (Kassel) and other shows in regions around the world. His wide-ranging activities include curation of the Berlin Biennale and publishing.

  • Perspectives 2015
    Photo: Keizo Kioku

    El Anatsui

    Born in 1944 in Anyanko, Volta, Ghana; resides in Nsuka, Nigeria. Studied sculpture at Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana). Began producing wood sculptures showing the influence of dyed fabrics and traditional decorative patterns. In 1975, moved to Nsuka on becoming a professor at Nigeria University. Since around 2000, has created numerous large installation works suggestive of tapestries, using metal caps from beverage bottles and other scrap materials. Awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2015 at the Venice Biennale.

  • Shadow Sites II 2011
    Courtesy of the Artist and the Abraaj Group Art Prize
    Photo: Adrian Warren
    ©Jananne Al-Ani

    Jananne Al-Ani

    Born in 1966 in Kirkuk, Iraq, and resides in London, UK. Works with photography, film, and video. Gives prominence to absence and loss in stereotypical images of the Middle East and historical events. Has shown her work in solo exhibitions at the Heyward Gallery and Tate Britain (England). Has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale and Istanbul Biennial.

  • Installation view
    Photo: Keizo Kioku
    ©Qiu Zhjie/STPI

    Qiu Zhijie

    Born in 1969 in Fujian Province and resides in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. Had an important role in Chinese conceptual art and performance art in the mid-1990s. Has exhibited works of calligraphy, photography, and video, and participated in group exhibitions at P.S.I. (New York), The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and ICA London. Won international acclaim at the 25th São Paulo Biennial. Employs broad-reach media, including curation, magazine publication, magazine editing.

  • Second chapter: be sure to pack the toothbrush, eat Curry noodles through the wormhole 2013
    Photo: Keizo Kioku
    Courtesy of STPI

    Rirkrit Tiravanija

    Born in 1961 in Buenos Aires, Argentina; resides in Chiang Mai, Thailand / New York, USA / Berlin, Germany. In the 1990s, became a foremost artist of “relational aesthetics.” Gives visual expression to “relations” by communicating with viewers, such as by serving “pad thai” Thai fried noodles in the gallery. Upsets existing values and perceptions by introducing everydayness in public places. Uses unique methods to question history and social systems.

  • Untitled (There is No Border Here) 2005-2006/ 2011
    Collection of 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    Photo: Keizo Kioku
    ©Shilpa Gupta

    Shilpa Gupta

    Born in 1976 in Mumbai, India, and resides there. Has participated in international exhibitions in Venice, Sharja, Sidney, Yokohama, and Echigo-Tsumari. Works with a broad range of media including photography, video, and the Internet. Orients her works to the region or site of the exhibition. Closely observes issues of gender, religion, race, class, and economic disparity. Shows new ways to perceive contemporary social problems and creates new social narratives, often with sharp wit.

  • SACK-2 2006
    Photo: Keizo Kioku
    ©Susanta Mandal

    Susanta Mandal

    Born in 1965 in Kolkata, resides in New Delhi, India. Works with light, video, and mechanical apparatuses to create kinetic artworks clothed in narrative, suggestive of India’s traditional shadow plays, such as Caged Sacks (2007-8), which evoked dark realms of history. Has participated in exhibitions at the Guggenheim Art Museum in New York and in other regions around the world.

  • Parade from Far, Far Away (detail) 2014
    Photo: Keizo Kioku
    ©yuken teruya

    Teruya Yuken

    Born in 1973 in Okinawa, resides in New York, USA. Attended Tama Art College and Maryland Institute College of Art. In 2001, graduated from the School of Visual Art. Explores issues of history and identity with insubstantial lightness from his own unique perspective, using cardboard tubes from toilet rolls, paper sacks, and other everyday materials as his media. Holds a strong interest in things that cannot be understood from one perspective, especially as concerns the complex history of his native Okinawa.

  • Moving a grave 2014
    Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts Singapore/ Tokyo
    Photo: Keizo Kioku
    ©Zai Kuning

    Zai Kuning

    Born in 1964 in Singapore; resides there. Works with diverse media including music, video, performance, sculpture, drawing, installation. Exhibits works that arouse our minds to thoughts of human history in the seas of East Asia, where people have come and gone without thought for national borders. Conveys a powerful message with abstract imagery, using branches, thread, and other everyday materials. Other important interests are physical actions of burying time and space, such as by coating his past works in hardened beeswax.

  • People’s United Nations (pUN) Drone Dove Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2015
    Photo: Keizo Kioku
    ©Pedro Reyes

    Pedro Reyes

    Born in 1972 in Mexico City, Mexico and resides there. Studied architecture. Employs sculpture, built structures, and projects to explore international relations, environmental issues, and other wide-ranging social problems. Has participated in solo and international exhibitions around the world. In recent years, has drawn attention with such works as Disarm (2013), which turns guns into musical instruments, and The People’s United Nations (pUN) (2013), taking the United Nations as a motif.

  • Passage- Another Country 2014
    Collection of 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    Photo: Keizo Kioku
    ©Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan

    Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan

    Maria Isabel Gaudinez-Aquilizan: born in Manila, Republic of the Philippines in 1965. Alfredo Juan Aquilizan: born in Ballesteros, Cagayan Province, Republic of the Philippines in 1962. Both live and work in Brisbane, Australia. The artists introduce personal exchange with regional communities in their works, thereby revealing distinctive local historical and cultural features. On moving from Manilla to Brisbane in 2006, they began a new project entitled “Another Country” taking “home” as a subject. Their works are motivated by the objective view they obtain by commuting among different cultures. This objectivity they bring to bear on the framework of the nation-state and citizen in Asia, national boundaries, and adaptation.


  • Language: Japanese and English
    Design & bookmaking: HAYASHI Takuma (Hayashi Takuma Design Office)
    Publication: My Book Service
    Price: ¥3,780 (with tax)


Organized by:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation)

Grants from:

Nomura Foundation

Sponsored by:

Supported by:
Singapore Airlines Cargo, Aeromexico, Live Art Books, Light and Licht Ltd

In Cooperation with:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Embassy of Mexico in Japan, Instytut Polski Tokio