drawing, 297 x 219mm, set of 3
Port city Kobe has served as a gateway to the outside world since the mid-19th century, soon after Japan opened to the West. Brimming with a sense of exoticism and boasting the remnants of the old foreign settlement, it is one of the nation’s leading tourist destinations. Kobe has also hosted many industries, and now many of its laborers are foreign technical intern trainees. With a declining domestic working population, Japan's industry would not be possible without them, and yet for years the country has averted its eyes from their poor treatment.
From 2019 to 2020, on the occasion of a solo exhibition there, Han visited Kobe and interacted with the foreign technical intern trainees, investigating the conditions of their lives and labor, including at a shoe factory. In the process of the research, he learned that Kobe had not only been a “gateway from foreign countries” but also a “place of departure,” from which many Japanese migrated to Brazil. Japanese who worked in Brazil as immigrants and foreign technical intern trainees who live and work in Japan now: Capturing each of their backgrounds, “Dance with shoes” could be called an ambiguous act that reveals the continuing structure of control / subjugation, while at the same time expressing hope that a connection can be formed by “dancing together” no matter the separation between time and country. (N.S.)
ANOMALY, Associação Nipo Brasileira, Emigration Museum, Belle Inc., Kobe Art Village Center, Kobe Planet Film Archive, The Japan Foundation, International Communication, Shared House Yadoksari, MAY Factory , Minegishi Social Dance Company
Born in Shanghai in 1987. Based in Tokyo. Focusing on the moments of doubt or confusion that arise between society and the individual, Han creates videos and installations featuring his own body and mass-produced objects to explore the genesis of norms of communication or identity in communities or society.
Major exhibitions include “Nissan Art Award: New Work by 2020 Finalists” (Nissan Pavilion, 2020), “Thank You Memory: From Cidre to Contemporary Art” (Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art, Aomori, 2020), “YOUR KINDNESS” (solo exhibition–Kobe Art Village Center ART LEAP2019, Hyogo, 2020) “The Drifting Thinker” (solo exhibition–MoCA Pavilion, Shanghai, 2017) and “Sights and Sounds: Highlights” (The Jewish Museum, New York, 2016). Recipient of the Nissan Art Award 2020 Grand Prix.