What kind of relationships do we have now with our friends, lovers, family members or people we meet by chance? What about our relationships with historical figures, or with things that aren’t human? What kind of distance do we feel in those relationships?
Back in the 19th century, when steam locomotives appeared and began conveying us rapidly to distant places, our sense of distance underwent a dramatic change. It is said that the revolution of speed, which was accelerated by the invention of automobiles and airplanes, prompted us to replace the notion of physical distance with time in our dealings with the world. And yet, in 2020, the global pandemic suddenly ruptured this “honeymoon” between time and distance that had continued since the Industrial Revolution. Now, we all live with restrictions on our physical movement. And so we have become more aware of the perspective of distance, be that physical or psychological, which we hadn’t given much attention before. But, is the state of being separated necessarily bad? Now that we have realized that an alternative scale may be applied to the sense of distance that has permeated our lives for nearly 200 years, could we not try to understand the positive aspects of “distance” by seeing it not as a physical unit but as something different or translating it into something new?
The works by the 11 artists presented here refer to many kinds of “distances,” or the relationships that form across them: between people, people and place, historical time and present, physical place and virtual space.
ARAKI Yu, HAN Ishu, IIYAMA Yuki, KOIZUMI Meiro, MOHRI Yuko, NOGUCHI Rika, OKUMURA Yuki, SATO Masaharu, SAWA Hiraki, YANAI Shino, YOSHIDA Shinya: Not all of the works by these 11 address physical distance directly. But for all of us, who may well be living in a turning point not seen since the Industrial Revolution, they offer new discoveries, like a broken clock that has started to tick again.
KIMURA Eriko, KONDO Kenichi
MASUDA Tomohiro, NOMURA Shino
The Japan Foundation is pleased to present an online exhibition “11 Stories on Distanced Relationships: Contemporary Art from Japan” as an endeavor to build a new framework for art exchange adapted to our reality with the coronavirus.
The spread of the pandemic has meant that since last year it has been difficult for people and goods to move around the globe, and as a result many international cultural exchange projects planned by the Foundation were cancelled. In this age of uncertainty, online forums have rapidly developed as places for communication, and everyone is having to reappraise their “distance” from their surrounds. This exhibition emerged from the question of how, in this context, we might go about building connections with the world. It is first ever exhibition of contemporary art to be held solely online by the Japan Foundation.
The exhibition introduces the work of 11 Japanese and Japan-based contemporary artists, centered on new pieces commissioned on the theme of “translating distance.” Psychological or physical distances have never been easy to reach across, or reduce. Nowadays distance has emerged as something we must learn to live with. This exhibition has been created to deliver works that earnestly address this kind of distance – from Japan to people everywhere in the world. We hope that everyone, wherever they may be, will enjoy it.
Last but not least, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the artists who participated in this project as well as to all the people who have contributed to the realization of this exhibition.
11 Stories on Distanced Relationships: Contemporary Art from Japan
30th March–5th May, 2021
SHIBAHARA Satoko, TODA Fumiko
WEBSITE & PR
GOTO Minami, MIYAHARA Tomoyuki
Curated exhibitions include, “HANRAN: 20th-Century Japanese Photography,” National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2019–2020), “Showa Portraits: Tracing the People and History of the Showa Era through Photography,” (2017, 2018), “BODY/PLAY/POLITICS,” (YMA, 2016), “Cai Guo-Qiang: There and Back Again” (2015), “NARA Yoshitomo: a bit like you and me…,” (2012–2013), “Takamine Tadasu: Too Far To See,” (2011), “Tabaimo: DANMEN” (2009–2010). Having previously worked as one of the guest curators of Kuandu Biennale, Taipei, 2008 and commissioner at Busan Sea Art Festival, 2011.
Curated and co-curated exhibitions including “Future and the Arts: AI, Robotics, Cities, Life” (2019), “Catastrophe and the Power of Art” (2018), “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal” (2014), “Roppongi Crossing 2010: Can There Be Art?” (2010), Koizumi Meiro’s solo show (2009) as well as video screening programs by Bill Viola (2015) and Gordon Matta-Clark (2015). Also curated a video art show with young Japanese artists for Sala 1 in Rome in 2010 and was Research Fellow at Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum for Contemporary Art - Berlin, National Museums of Berlin (2014–15).
Curated exhibitions including “Peter Doig” (2020), “Awakenings: Art and Society in Asia 1960–1990” (co-curation, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, National Gallery Singapore, 2018–2019), “No Museum, No Life?: Art-Museum Encyclopedia to Come From the Collections of the National Museums of Art” (co-curation, 2015), “Takamatsu Jiro: Mysteries” (2014–2015).
Curated exhibitions including “Camille Henrot | Stepping on a Serpent” (2019), “Rhythm in Monochrome, Korean Abstract Painting” (2017), “Simon Fujiwara | White Day” (2016), “Zaha Hadid” (2014), “Hiraki Sawa | Under the Box, Beyond the Bounds” (2014), “Element | Cecil Balmond” (2010), “The House and the City: Architecture by Diener & Diener” (2009), “Toyo Ito | The New ‘Real’ in Architecture” (2006), “Conversation with Art, on Art” (2006). Outside works include Committee of "Vision of the City - Obayashi Foundation Program", "Theaster Gates" (2019), "AIDA Makoto: Ground No Plan" (2017).