Project Japan 2019 – Aichi Trienniale

Izuru Mizutani, Director of the Art and Mind Center invited us to Nagoya on Tuesday , 13th August. The main focus was the Aichi Triennale, a large international art festival spread across multliple large and small sites. We were in the Aichi Arts Center for most of our day and saw a really diverse collection of works which appear overall, to value difference, freedom of expression, endeavour and humanity.


Examples that celebrate these values are evident in for instance, the delicate spatial drawings on layers of glass and paper by home grown artist Yukari Bunya; the sensitive telling of a life lived 1200 years ago by Claudia Martinez Garay and the extraordinarily labour intensive screen prints of Yohei Imamura.

Claudia Martinez Garay


There is a dark side to these themes, bringing into focus anxieties about freedom and control, privacy, safety and belonging. For example, Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s Portraits created from the DNA of found material such as chewing gum and Tanya Bruguera’s work which forces us to cry (due to menthol fumes).

Heather Dewey-Hagborg


The pseudo forensic approach of Kyoto based Hana Sawada’s work is extremely amusing as her research results in an absurd 3-D model. However, the message also has unsettling undertones and implications.

Hana Sawada


There were so many great pieces of work on show that highlight current concerns, but ‘After Freedom of Expression’ caused the biggest furore, with anonymous threats of arson. It was withdrawn from the exhibition and other artists subsequently withdrew their work in protest.

After Freedom of Expression


Thankyou Izuru for a wonderful day!



One Comment

  1. […] Contemporary art at its best: a fascinating mixture of installation, painting, video, projection mapping, research, etc., etc., some of it trivial, some humourous, and some deadly serious. There was nothing that really moved me, and I didn’t like all of it, but taken as a whole the exhibition is a thought-provoking and fascinating experience. There has even been some controversy: a section of the exhibition that highlighted Japanese war crimes has been shut, provoking a national debate about “freedom of expression”. See here or here, for example. Again: Heather’s take on all this here. […]


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