Intervening in Nature and Society: History of the ‘Art Project’ in Japan, 1955-2013 – Talk by Kenji Kajiya


The first decade of the 21st century saw the expansion of non-museum-based exhibitions in Japan. Ranging from art initiatives run by artists to large-scale festivals in the countryside, they are often called ‘art projects’ to highlight the process of making artworks and exhibitions and the temporariness of their installations and venues. As we see the global increase of biennales and triennales, international art festivals such as Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in Niigata and Setouchi Triennale in Naoshima and other islands are arguably best understood in the context of such art projects in Japan.

In this talk, Kenji Kajiya, Associate Professor of Art History at Hiroshima City University, will discuss how art projects took place and have developed in postwar Japan. Tracing back to outdoor exhibitions organised by Gutai Art Association and Kyushu-ha in the mid-1950s, he will demonstrate how non-museum-based exhibitions have developed and taken shaped through each decade, before international art festivals in rural setting and university-based outdoor exhibitions stood out as art projects in the 2000s.

This talk will provide an insightful and historical account of art projects and their development to the present day, considering how these phenomena have been integrated or interacted with natural landscapes and society in Japan.

Date: 17 October 2013 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, London

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