"Come Close: Japanese Artists Within their Communities"
Tsubasa Kato, Chim↑Pom, Takayuki Yamamoto, Ryudai Takano
Curated by: Emily Wakeling
Opening: Wednesday 7 January 2015, 6-8pm
Dates: 7 - 31 January 2015
After the disasters that struck the east coast of Japan on March 11th, 2011, inherited social groups opened up to form larger communities defined by the event’s terrible impact and the support of many who helped the victims. In the face of disaster and the threat of further danger, community and teamwork were valued above all. As a result, many Japanese artists related strongly with the revived sense of community. Instead of responding to the disaster alone, from a studio, artists chose to reach out to those around them and in particular to those in tsunami- and nuclear-affected areas of the country. New, collective-based methods of production resulted in new and interesting work, and this in turn has made 3/11 one of the most important affirmations, if not inspiration, for community-based contemporary art practices in Japan today. Taking its selection from a small number of young artists based in Japan, this exhibition will be a celebration of the collective over the individual.
Thursday 8th January at 6pm we present an in-conversation event between visiting artist Tsubasa Kato, exhibition curator Emily Wakeling, and Melbourne based artist Eugenia Lim. This discussion is followed by a special screening of ‘MITAKUYE OYASIN’ a documentary directed by Takaharu Eto about Tsubasa Kato’s 2013 work in North and South Dakota, United States. RSVP for the public program by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tsubasa Kato is a Tokyo-based artist whose process-based practice relies on the participation of non-artists to bring value to his production. Through his performances and videos, Kato communicates the intangible value of art as a social experience and the result of people’s collective labour.
Chim↑Pom are a Tokyo-based artist group who often create spectacles that disrupt social conventions. Their reputation for being irreverent pranksters was given more credit as sincere political gesture in their post-3/11 projects, including a video work in which they collaborated with local young people in Fukushima. Takayuki Yamamoto is a Japan-based artist who has built an artistic practice from his fascination and respect for the imaginations of children. Based on the results of workshops, in which Yamamoto encourages children to be as imaginative as possible, the artist then records his participants with their creations. The resulting videos, displayed alongside the children’s work, are often humourous, a little dark, as well as surprising insights into the perspectives of people often overlooked as artists in their own right.
Ryudai Takano is a Tokyo-based photographic artist. His work often reaches into intimate realms, such as subjects undressed in their bedrooms, and his full-frontal depiction of male nudity still manages to be confrontational in its life-size scale and gender transgressions. His series, “With Me,” is a collection of naked “selfies” of the artist with men and women he met in Okinawa and Tokyo, constructing opportunities to cultivate intimacy and trust with the local community.
Emily Wakeling is from Brisbane, Australia. She studied at the Queensland University of Technology and earned a Masters in art history from the University of Queensland. She arrived in Tokyo in 2010 thanks to the Monbukagakusho Research Scholarship and has settled in Japan as a freelance art writer, teacher and curator. She has organised exhibitions by Archie Moore and Courtney Coombs, both in Tokyo galleries in 2012. In the same year, she also contributed as co-curator to “Anywhere but Here” at Boxcopy Gallery, Brisbane. Most recently she collaborated with Level to co-curate “This is Not the Work,” an exhibition of global feminist art collectives held in The Block, Brisbane, in September 2014.