HAPPENINGText: Tamami Kadowaki

Feel the power and strength of artists from the North.

Hokkaido Three-Dimensional Art Exhibition '10

Organized by Hokkaido-based artists, the ‘Hokkaido Three-Dimensional Art Exhibition’ is a collaborative effort by three of Sapporo’s museums and specially chosen Hokkaido-based artists. Although the exhibition is titled a ‘three-dimensional’ exhibition, the event gathered not just sculptors alone, but also contemporary artists and glass-makers showcasing a myriad variety of works in a single hall. With 56 artists from Hokkaido on display, this is an exhibition in which you can truly experience Hokkaido’s art scene for yourself.

The exhibition first started in 2001 and was subsequently held four more times in 2003, 2006, 2008. This year marks the last time it will be held. As it will be the final exhibition, the artworks will be displayed at two additional places this year, the Hongo Shin Memorial Museum of Sculpture, Sapporo and the Museum of Contemporary Art Sapporo, in addition to the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, which had always been the main venue for the exhibition up till now.

In a bid to celebrate their 10th anniversary and express their gratitude to art-lovers all these years, the three museums operated a joint free shuttle bus service for the 5th of June. I took the bus as I gathered information for this event. The bus route I took is as follows: I started off at the west gate of the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art at noon, and then traveled to the Hongo Shin Memorial Museum of Sculpture, Sapporo, before ending up at the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art. The bus had a seating capacity of about 38 passengers and departed in fine weather.

Exhibition view at Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art

As I was to depart from the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, I went to check out all of the pieces on display at that museum first. As I queued up to get my tickets, I was already treated to glimpses of the art that awaited me, which stirred something in my heart and excited me. Here, I’d like to introduce some of my favourite works from the exhibition at this museum.

Front piece: Kineta Kunimatsu “ICEBERG”

Kineta Kunimatsu “ICEBERG”
This is a sculpture involving a horizontal arrangement of two tree trunks. It does not concretely shift its form to something else. When we gaze upon something that has been constructed from wood, we can once again rediscover the freshness and life behind a tree, as though we’ve accidentally chanced upon the very moment that a tree takes breath. A cloudy, mysterious liquid further enhances and supports that clear sense of being alive. Never before have I so vividly felt the essence of a tree.

Left piece: Nozomi Watanabe “MASK”

Nozomi Watanabe “MASK”
Light floods in through the windows, brightening up the space in which the MASK is exhibited. ‘MASK’ is an artwork which seems to capture the precise moment a curtain flutters in the wind. At a glance, it appears to be made out of black cloth, but it is actually a lacquered object, showcasing many different facades through the effects of sunshine and external scenery. Standing in front of the piece offers you a warped and distorted view of yourself. With that, you could almost lose yourself in the ever-changing sheen and amorphous form of a jet-black whirlpool. The beauty of the black lacquer is also bewitching, especially when your face turns up comical in the reflection.

Center piece: Yoshinori Arai “Soft Landing To Field”

Yoshinori Arai “Soft Landing To Field”
Wooden triangular cones, of the sort often seen at elementary school sports meets. Objects made out of plaster. Colored pieces of paper. Even though this artwork ought to have a mechanical look, it is wonderful in the way it manages to convey warmth and nostalgia at the same time. This time, I also had the chance to share my bus ride with Yoshinori Arai, and discuss the artwork with him. There’s a specific reason behind the art’s sense of wonderment. Although designed with the motif of graphics carefully calculated in the mind, it is displaced by the delicate details . The artwork contains the secret of displacement.

Exhibition view at Hongo Shin Memorial Museum of Sculpture, Sapporo

The Hongo Shin Memorial Museum of Sculpture, Sapporo acts in this exhibition as an ideal meeting place, showcasing small works by all 56 participating artists which you can view in one shot. Even though they are small, the power of each art work by no means diminishes in size, and in fact, is made more charming by its proportions. This makes the museum an extremely precious place. While half of the participating artists showcase their larger work at the Hokkaido Museum of Art with the other half at Hokkaido Art Park, this museum is really where you can see all of the artists’ key concepts distilled in a single place.

Exhibition view at Hongo Shin Memorial Museum of Sculpture, Sapporo

The artworks displayed in this museum are interesting because of the connections created. They are deeply related to the art displayed in the other 2 museums. For example, Shotaro Sakamoto‘s ‘TSUKIJIN’ comprises 2 parts. The first is displayed here, a 2-dimensional artwork using materials such as wood, while the second part displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sapporo follows the same motif but is built as a 3-dimensional iron object.

Central garden at Museum of Contemporary Art Sapporo

As for Museum of Contemporary Art Sapporo, interestingly, open talk sessions with participating artists are held. It was quite a sight to watch how art-lovers and artists would revolve in tandem around the park, starting from the front or central gardens, before moving on to the museum itself. The weather was at its finest at the start of the event, at 2pm. From here, I’d like to highlight several works displayed in the park.

Ryo Yamada “Infinite Landscape”

Ryo Yamada “Infinite Landscape”
This is a floating artwork showcased on the pond located in front of the museum. A thin, fine path connects the artwork to the ground before it. In order to discover what lies inside the pond, you’ll have to cross this path. It was here that children crossed it merrily, all together. The artist Yamada says, ‘The artwork is an organic, living space in which changes can occur. In interacting with the artwork, the imprints of changes left by people or the weather, as much as possible, all become part of the artwork itself.’

Left piece: Kanako Tomihara “Snow Scenery”

Kanako Tomihara “Snow Scenery”
This piece is a 3-dimensional object completely covered in white cloth, distinctly representing Hokkaido’s snow. A view from the airplane window to the ground down below often reveals an endless blanket of white. Upon closer observation, one can discover that even white has various shades and tones, and that occasionally, thin patches of earth will peek through the layers of snow. In utilizing felt as her material, which creates the impression of gentle softness, the artist manages to convey Hokkaido’s warmth and tenderness through her piece.

Left piece: Hiroyuki Nomura “Simplicity Made”

Hiroyuki Nomura “Simplicity Made”
This piece of art is a tower made of tough? stones unique to Sapporo, which conjures up a myriad of impressions in the viewer. As the title suggests, this artwork is very simply constructed, and the artist presents a work which is meticulously and carefully calculated in the way the stone material is utilized. Nomura passionately says, ‘Recent contemporary art is concerned mostly with the investigation of the limits of beauty and our ways of viewing new artwork. Yet in the midst of all that, I’d like to continue my work with stone and wood.’

Exhibition view at Museum of Contemporary Art Sapporo

The talking sessions were conducted such that large groups of people would walk together with the artists as they spoke passionately about their work. What was fascinating was that artists such as Yoshinori Arai and Shuji Izumi also joined in the bus rides with the passengers. It was memorable the way they spoke with such fervor, as though they wanted you to feel the passion found in the north of Japan. Just as they wished, a lot of visitors fell in love with the exhibition and became fans. Although 10 years marks a critical juncture in the exhibition’s history to be concluded, Hokkaido’s art scene will continue to progress from here. I hope that someday, an exhibition similar to this one will once again be held.

Participating artists: Yoshinori Arai, Midori Ikeda, Shuji Izumi, Akihiko Ito, Masanori Umeda, Hiroko Kato, Kineta Kunimatsu, Takeaki Saito, Ryo Sakurai, Toshiya Shimozawa, Naotoshi Sugawara, Mitsue Sugita, Takashi Suzuki, Akira Sendai, Shougorou Takahashi, Takae Takeda, Yuzo Chiba, Norihiro Nakae, Yoshiyuki Nakajima, Keiji Nomata, Hiroyasu Hasegawa, Satoshi Hata, Kazuhiko Fujimoto, Ikumi Matsuda, Yoshiyasu Yamada, Misa Yamamoto, Yoshitaka Yamamoto, Shigeru Yoshida, Megumi Watanabe, Nobumichi Achi, Tenei Abe, Makoto Iga, Hiroshi Kakizaki, Asuka Kunimatsu, Keiko Kumazawa, Shotaro Sakamoto, Keishi Sasaki, Toshihiko Shibuya, Yoko Tamura, Kanako Tomihara, Hiroyuki Nomura, Tsubasa Ban, Tadayuki Fujii, Reo Fujisawa, Naohiro Fujita, Naruki Matsui, Yasuharu Mounai, Ryousuke Morikawa, Takahiro Ito, Dam Dang Lai, Takemasa Narahara, Junichi Nirasawa, Hirotaka Hayashi, Mido Harada, Ryo Yamada, Yukio Watanabe

>Hokkaido Three-Dimensional Art Exhibition ’10
Venue 1: Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art
Date: May 29th – June 6th, 2010
Address: North 1 West 17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Venue 2: Hongo Shin Memorial Museum of Sculpture, Sapporo
Date: May 15th – June 27th, 2010
Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00
Closed on Mondays
Address: 4-12 Miyanomori, Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Venue 3: Museum of Contemporary Art Sapporo
Date: June 6th – 13th, 2010
Opening hours: 9:45 – 17:30
Address: 2 Sapporo Art Park, Minami-ku, Sapporo

Text: Tamami Kadowaki
Translation: Bonnie Oeni
Photos: Aiko Watanabe

[Help wanted] Inviting volunteer staff / pro bono for contribution and translation. Please e-mail to us.