About "Future of Creation"
As of September 2014, we are presenting a new series of exhibitions, "Future of Creation," each of which takes a distinctive theme and embodies a trend now in the making. We are guided in this endeavor by four creators from the forefront of Japanese art and architecture who join us as supervisors--Toshio Shimizu (artistic director), Ryohei Miyata (metal artist), Toyo Ito (architect), and Kengo Kuma (architect). Each undertakes a three-month long exhibition, for a total four exhibitions each year.
Introduction by MIYATA Ryohei
Harmony by Nine: Reflection
1. Exhibitions transcending artistic media and disciplines
To date I have supervised two shows in the "Future of Creation" series of exhibitions hosted by LIXIL Gallery. The 2018 exhibition, titled The Modern Minstrels in Metalworking, showcased works by eleven metalwork artists across different metalworking schools and the different metalworking techniques of hammering, casting, and engraving. The most recent 2019 exhibition titled Kōgei is... presented works by twelve artists working in the disparate realms of ceramics, textiles, lacquerware, metalwork, wood/bamboo, and gold leaf.
2. The project that gave birth to the exhibitions
These exhibitions presenting artworks across disciplines originated in an art project named "Harmony by Nine," launched in 2000.
I remember project members being quietly thrilled about the project's ambitious prospect of breaking new creative ground, and exploring artistic languages unique to Japan by putting on the same stage the works of nine contemporary artists from different disciplines--ceramics, woodworking, urushi working, calligraphy, nihonga, glass, and metalworking--with disparate artistic styles and sensibilities.
At the time of its launch, nothing was set down except the project duration of ten years, and the organizing of five biennial exhibitions.
3. An attribute shared by the nine artists
Although of varying age--the youngest and eldest were 16 years apart--all nine artists shared the fact that they had grown up in a family where the father was an artist. The nine had in common the experience of feeling admiration and trust, as well as the sense of dependence on and rejection of their fathers, who were also their mentors, and the emotional complexity this involved. This is why "A view of life through our fathers" was chosen for the theme of the group's first exhibition, held at Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo in 2001.
4. Breathing contemporary life into tradition
The nine artists were invariably in a position in which they inherited and felt obliged to preserve the Japanese traditions and ideas of beauty that shaped the creations of their fathers. While they employed traditional techniques, there were also demands on them to be original, creative, and capable of generating new traditions. The theme of the group's second exhibition was "Re-visiting Japanese art," which expressed the group's aspiration to breathe new, contemporary life into Japanese beauty and tradition.
Each of the group's exhibitions was accompanied by a publication designed to communicate in greater depth and breadth what the exhibition set out to achieve, thereby saving its impact from becoming transient. These publications also contained essays and roundtable talks recording the nine artists' ideas and principles about creative activities and contemporary currents.
5. Closely related but distinct cultures
Communicating the beauty of Japanese creative thoughts and shapes involved constantly looking back at the Japanese cultural traditions that lay at their foundation. The project group naturally looked to fellow Asian countries to revisit the roots of Japanese culture. It launched a tripartite conference for the promotion of arts and culture with representations from Korea, China, and Japan, which organized a cultural exchange program comprising exhibitions and lecture meetings held in Seoul, Beijing, and Tokyo between 2004 and 2006. Each of the exhibitions featured the works of nine artists from a variety of artistic disciplines.
This is why the theme for the project's third biennial exhibition was "Dialogue through art." The exhibition developed into a range of activities for re-appreciating the unique beauty of Oriental art, which included visiting students in China, Korea, and Japan for a survey on how they viewed the arts in the three countries.
6. Across differences in place and time
The tripartite conference freshly highlighted the importance of close interaction. Interaction is vital for the arts and culture to flourish and mature. "Tsutaeai" (lit. interaction; mutual communication) was therefore chosen for the theme of the project group's fourth biennial exhibition. The theme was consistent with the project group's objective of communicating legacies from the past to both current and future generations across geographical boundaries.
The project group's fifth and final biennial exhibition chose "Inori no keisho" (lit. carrying on the prayer/wish) as its theme, which arguably was a succinct and ultimate expression of the project group's shared quest for dreams and hopes, nature and life, and beauty and spirit.
7. A decade of fixed-point observation
Ten years of organizing biennial, interdisciplinary group exhibitions that were neither solo commercial shows nor open submission shows resulted in fruits far richer than any of us involved had anticipated.
Not only did the project stimulate artistic creativity through exposure to previously unknown techniques and designs, but it also provided a place for learning from the artistic ideas and life philosophies of others. Through dialogues with artworks presented at two-year intervals, the project offered the artists involved bird's-eye views of where they stood by prompting them to take a fresh look at new expressive developments, as well as any changes in the way they lived.
I believe that as a result of this the nine artists were able to broaden their artistic awareness beyond their individual themes to include their outlook for the area they worked in.
8. The nine artists today
Today, ten years on from the conclusion of the ten-year project, the nine artists remain connected in one way or another as they go through their own evolutions and progressions.
The present exhibition, Harmony by Nine: Reflection, resulted from a desire for an opportunity to stand back and look at the trajectory of each over the ten-year period--what has and has not changed--before continuing on toward the next new decade.
9. A place for new encounters
By its nature this exhibition shows the trajectories of Japanese arts and culture as they entered the new century. The exhibition is also envisaged to become a place where the nine artists can meet and connect with new viewers and fans. I am excited about discovering what kind of harmony the reunion of nine artists exploring new shapes of Japanese beauty and spirit will produce. I hope viewers will find the Harmony by Nine as enthralling as a harmony of myriad musical sounds.
|Date||27 January - 24 March, 2020|
|Open Hours||10:00 - 18:00|
|Closed||Wednesdays, 23 February, 2020|
|1945||Born in Sado, Niigata Prefecture|
|1972||Completed master’s program, Metal Hammering course,Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts|
|1997||Professor, Department of Crafts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts|
|2005||President, Tokyo University of the Arts (March, 2016)|
|2012||Won the 68th Japan Art Academy Prize|
|2016||to present: Commissioner for Cultural Affairs|
|Professor emeritus of Tokyo University of the Arts,|
|Chairman, the Tokyo 2020 Emblems and Mascot Selection Committee|
|and Sumo Association, etc.|