While the world today is expanding beyond traditional frameworks, and various kinds of networks are growing, it is being shaken to its foundations by challenges such as conflict, refugees and immigration, and the emergence of protectionism, xenophobia, and populism. At the same time, the world is awash in data far exceeding the processing capacity of human beings, and in an increasingly complex and sophisticated environment where communication tools such as social media are developing rapidly, people appear to be banding together into small, disparate groups of "island universe" and communities. Also, there is increasingly assertive activity by a wide range of small-scale organizations that challenge the dictates of superpowers and centralized political systems.
Against this backdrop of widespread disruption of conventional social frameworks and values, Yokohama Triennale 2017 embarks on a multi-faceted examination, through art, of the themes of connectivity and isolation, under the title "Islands, Constellations & Galapagos." We will contemplate the world in which conflicting concepts and phenomena are intricately intertwined and constantly in flux, the nature of identity and diversity, and how the courage, imagination and creativity of human beings can be used to derive a new vision and ground design for the future when our future remains uncertain. At the main venues - Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No. 1, and Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall - works in diverse media by approximately 40 artists or groups from Japan and the world will be exhibited. It will resemble an aggregation of small solo exhibitions by a smaller-than-usual number of carefully selected artists, with many of them showing multiple works. This is intended to give the viewers a deeper understanding of individual artists' creative worlds, and at the same time, to embody the image of these worlds gradually connecting like stars or islands forming constellations and archipelagoes.
Participants include artists who consistently address issues with their own unique methods, and carry out activities that transcend existing frameworks and concepts, as well as collaborations among artists and projects that address pressing social issues from an artistic point of view. The themes dealt in their works are broad: some refer to the individual and society, the self and other, and states and national borders, and others question different historical views, human activities, and civilizations as well as specifically Japanese issues of isolation. Encountering with works on various themes will enable viewers to develop their thinking about the cycles of history, the continental world and the island world, and alternative ways of dealing with various issues.
In the planning and conceptualizing stages, the Triennale has deepened the concept from various angles through a Conception Meeting that includes experts from different fields. Also, we are organizing the "Yokohama Round," a series of dialogues also featuring experts from various fields, as a platform for discussions and sharing/co-existence in exploring ideas through both visual examination and dialogue. In addition, we will collaborate with the local educational institutions such as the Yokohama Graduate School of Architecture (Y-GSA) of Yokohama National University and highlight historical sites in the city, seeking to approach the historical background of the opening of the port and the nation as a whole from multifaceted and locally grounded perspectives.
Co-director Yokohama Triennale 2017
Curator / International Artistic Director, Benesse Art Site Naoshima
(From press information, Yokohama Triennale 2017
© Photo: Aterui; cortesy of Yokohama Triennale)