Niigata Prefecture, Japan
760 sq km, incl. Tokamachi city and Tsunan town
29 July - 17 September 2018
General Director: Fram Kitagawa
Organizer: Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale Executive Committee
Co-organizer: NPO Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Collaborative Organization
Since inaugurated in 2000, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale has been held every three years in the rural area, known for its heavy snowfall and distinctive Satoyama agricultural landscape that express human co-existence with nature, which today is suffering rapid ageing and depopulation. Under the overarching principle of "human beings are part of nature", the festival aims to reveal the latent values of the region using art as a catalyst, communicate these to the world, and find a way to revitalize the region.
For the 7th edition, in addition to over 200 existing works created by global artists such as Marina Abramovic, Christian Boltanski, Cai Guo-Qiang, Anthony Gormley, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama and many more, about 160 new works have been created. In total, about 360 works by the artists, architects, and performers from 44 countries unfold over 760 square kilometers of the land, terraced rice fields, mountains, forests, empty farming houses, and closed school buildings.
Art Tourism for the Age of Global Environmental Awareness
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale has invented a new form of journey: guided by art through the Satoyama landscape. The visitor interacts with the works, and more broadly with the region and local people, while traveling from one work to the next. A journey here is not only a reflection of the localities, but also the tracing and reinvention of history and time. The landscape, livelihood and communities of the region fostered through great efforts of agriculture attract visitors not only domestic but also from overseas. The pilgrimage allows them to reexamine global environmental approaches, and expand the dialogue of how people relate to nature.
The 2018 Triennale offers two courses of the official bus tour, featuring new and major works. One is called the "Antelope Course" to visit the works which highlight terraced rice fields and civil engineering as device to survive in the severe natural environment such as heavy snowfall and earthquakes. This course highlights Yukihisa Isobe’s past and new works as well as his memorial museum. The other is the "Salmon Course," to visit the works along the Shinano River, the longest river in Japan, and enjoy the dynamic topography such as river terraces. Each course includes a special lunch produced by a Michelin-star chef or food artist, emphasizing local food that is fresh and seasonal in the menus. Food is an important part of the Echigo-Tsumari art travel.
The Hojoki Shiki in 2018 Exhibition
As a special exhibition of the festival, "Hojoki Shiki in 2018 : The Universe of Ten Foot Square Huts Created by Architects and Artists" was launched in the Triennale’s main venue, the Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, KINARE. The exhibition is the starting point of a long-term initiative of "Echigo-Tsumari Hojo Village" in the central area of Tokamachi City. This initiative aims to revitalize the area through embedding small spaces of different functions into the existing buildings (empty houses and shops, etc.).
The "Hojoki" is a collection of essays written in 1212 by Kamo no Chomei, a poet and recluse in the Middle Ages. He willingly lived in a 10-foot square ("hojo") hut (about 9 square meters) amidst continuing disasters such as earthquakes, fires, and famines, from which he observed, considered and recorded the world. The "Hojoki" is an architectural theory relating to localism and the "hojo" hut is the archetype of Japanese architecture. The exhibition is a proposal to break the fetters of homogenous space that covers the world of today, and examine the role of architecture and art in an era in which local values have been swamped by globalization.
The exhibition shows a variety of sectional, mobile, small architectural spaces with different functions (dwelling, office, shop, sauna, dining, etc.) by 30 groups of architects and artists selected through the open call (the jury: Hiroshi Hara, Ryue Nishizawsa, Fram Kitagawa), including Dominique Perrault Architecture, Toyo Ito & Associates, Associates, and so on. The visitors can experience a virtual "village" in full size, which surrounds a large-scale pond created by Leandro Erlich. With Chomei's worldview as the backdrop, diverse works that reflect the world and allow you to see it from small spaces through the perspectives of architects and artists, are on display here. In conjunction with the exhibition, the opening concert “Beyond the Circle” was produced by Takeshi Kobayashi, based on Minao Shibata’s symphony "The flow of the river is ceaseless".
Global Development of Networks
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale has been internationally recognized as a model of regional revitalization with art, and the issues Echigo-Tsumari has faced to bring vitality to the region are shared by many regions in the world, in particular in Asia. Foreign governments and organizations have set up satellites in Echigo-Tsumari. Following the Australia House, built with support of Australian government, the China House was established in 2016, and this summer, the Hong Kong House was opened as the initiative of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The Echigo-Tsumari model is being exported abroad. In China, a large-scale art festival is being planned, inviting Fram Kitagawa as the director.
From Korea, YATOO - Korean Nature Artists' Association brought ten artists from eight countries. During the Triennale period, the Asia Art Forum was held with participants from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore; and the Antarctic Biennale Symposium took place with the participation of artists, philosopher, architect, and film director from Russia. The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale has become a hub of global networking through art.
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale Executive Committee
NPO Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Collaborative Organization
Yoshifumi Sekiguchi (Mayor of Tokamachi city)
Kenji Kamimura (Mayor of Tsunan town)
Soichiro Fukutake (Director, Fukutake Foundation)
Fram Kitagawa (Art Director)
Taku Satoh (Graphic Designer)
Official Supporter Leader:
Kohey Takashima (Representative Director, CEO, Oisix.daichi Inc.)
From press information.
Images on top: Ma Yansong / MAD Architects, Light Cave. Leandro Erlich, Palimpsest: Pond of Sky. Yukihisa Isobe, A Monument of Siphon. Mounir Fatmi, CASABARATA.
© Photos: Osamu Nakamura, Keizo Kioku. Courtesy of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2018