Encounters: Revitalizing Dying Areas in Japan with Site-Specific Art Projects

Encounters: Revitalizing Dying Areas in Japan with Site-Specific Art Projects

Benesse Art Site Naoshima (1989-) in the Seto Inland Sea and Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial (2000-) in Niigata Prefecture are model site-specific art projects for the Japanese government’s Chihō sōsei (Creation of rural area) program, providing positive alternatives to its urban-centered aging society. Historically, site-specific art originated in the West, focusing on radical aesthetics. In Japan it grew fiercely political. This is because the two influential directors of the projects—Sōichirō Fukutake (b. 1945), who heads Benesse Art Site, and Fram Kitagawa (b. 1946), who directs Echigo-Tsumari Triennale—after being deeply engaged in rural life, began seeing modernization and urbanization, with its economic growth, as marginalizing rural communities. In 1989, Fukutake began deploying contemporary art in Naoshima Island, ravaged by sulfur dioxide from a copper refinery factory. He commissioned artists to deploy site-specific arts that either evoke critical thinking in its viewers, or enhance the unique landscape of the Seto Inland Sea—one of Japan’s earliest national parks. He also appointed artists and architects to create unique works using abandoned houses and factories. Kitagawa, on the other hand, brought together urban volunteers and rural farmers with site-specific art projects and provided eye-opening experiences, grounded in the regional food and culture, for both participants and visitors.

Tickets include a meal inspired by the presentation.

For any dietary restrictions, questions, or assistance with ticket purchases, please contact the Asian Art Council at aac@artic.edu or 312-443-7282.

Image: Yukinori Yanagi, Inujima Seirensho Art Museum, ​2008, Courtesy, Yukinori Yanagi Studio.

Date: April 10
Time: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Location: Nichols Board of Trustees Suite

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Adult $85.00

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