culture power
Japanese Art Scenes and Artists

Copyright © Aomi Okabe and all the Participants
© Musashino Art University, Department of Arts Policy and Management
©岡部あおみ & インタヴュー参加者

Japanese Art Scenes and Artists −Recapturing and Presenting the Site
Aomi Okabe

  1. From the Post Mono-ha to Takashi Murakami

Although it is hard to believe today, it was not until the latter half of the 1980s that the pioneering trends of twentieth-century Japanese art were systematically introduced in the West.  Recently, a growing number of artists are being invited to participate in large-scale international exhibitions throughout the world and their work is being enthusiastically received.  Artists like Takashi Murakami are getting high prices for their work at overseas auctions.  The change is simply amazing.  One of the earliest exhibitions of progressive Japanese art was “Japon des avant-gardes 1910-1970” at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1986.  Since I was personally involved in this project and witnessed the isolation of Japanese art at that time, the current situation is all the more impressive.
  The history of contemporary art in Japan evolved through a series of avant-garde movements such as the Gutai Art Association in the 1950s, Hi-Red Center and the Neo-Dada Organizers in the 1960s, and Bikyoto in the early 1970s.  Today, artists are participating directly in the organization of exhibitions and the world has truly become borderless.
   Conservative academic art is still promoted in Japan by influential art associations like the Nitten (Japan Art Association), which enjoy a surprising amount of popular support.  The number of people who like and understand contemporary art is still small.  However, things have greatly improved since the time when such influential artists as On Kawara, Shusaku Arakawa, Ushio Shinohara, Yayoi Kusama, Yoko Ono, and Tetsumi Kudo had to move to Paris or New York in order to gain recognition.  Many new art museums were built throughout the country in the 1980s and a surge of international interest in Japanese art began around 1989, when the exhibition, “Against Nature: Japanese Art of the Eighties,” was organized.  This was an age of new opportunities for museum curators.
  The artists who are most successful today have responded thoughtfully to the expanding art museum system and learned to work with curators, who have a privileged position in evaluating art.  Recently, artists are developing concepts and approaches that allow them to bypass the system and disregard established forms of art in different ways from the highly political anti-establishment movements of the 1960s and 1970s.  Many artists are taking effective action to reconstruct the context of modern and contemporary art.
  The first specific trend in contemporary Japanese art that became known in foreign countries was the Mono-ha (Thing School), whose “primary structures” resembled Minimal Art and Arte Povera.  It emerged around 1970 and was exemplified by the installations of Lee U-Fan and Kishio Suga, which eliminated the hierarchies previously associated with artists and artworks.  Through the gesture of presenting unaltered rocks or pieces of wood, they gave a voice to matter and physical objects. Tadashi Kawamata, a Post Mono-ha artist, was invited to participate in major international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta in the 1980s.  He created temporary structures with plain lumber and discarded materials.  The artists of the Mono-ha concentrated on the space surrounding material objects placed in a particular site and the relationships between them, but Kawamata’s interventions took in the land, houses, and inhabitants of the place where his installations were built.  This concept of space became a bridge or passageway to the space of the outside world and its social dimensions, eventually leading him to organize community projects in the flow of space-time.  On the basis of these achievements, Kawamata was chosen as the art director of the Yokohama Triennale 2005.
  Other artists during the same period created a quite different kind of art, flashy, artificial, vernacular images or high-tech media installations.  Yasumasa Morimura made composite photographs containing his own image, transforming his appearance freely with different costumes and props. Tatsuo Miyajima created installations with digital counters.  Harmoniously combining art and media, they made an acclaimed international debut at “Aperto” in the Venice Biennale of 1988.  While Morimura and Miyajima remained in Japan receiving the attention of international curators and became international stars, artists of the next generation like Takashi Murakami and Masato Nakamura took the initiative in changing the context of art to make things more interesting for the artist. In 1992, during a two-person exhibition, “Murakami and Nakamura,” in Osaka, the city where Morimura lived, they presented what they called the “Osaka Mixer Plan.”  This referred to the famous “Tokyo Mixer Plan,” a series of street performances by the group Hi-Red Center in the1960s.  Murakami and Nakamura with Tsuyoshi Ozawa and Hideki Nakazawa, carried out a “Movement to Promote the Cleanup of the Metropolitan Area” in Osaka similar to the Tokyo precedent.  In 1991, Tsutomu Ikeuchi opened the Röntgen Kunst Institut in Omori, promoting the tendency to join art and the anime and manga subculture against the background of the Pop materialism of the 1980s.  One important exhibition held there was “Anomaly,” organized in 1992 by art critic Noi Sawaragi and featuring Kodai Nakahara, Takashi Murakami, Kenji Yanobe, and Gabin Ito.
   Takashi Murakami went on to do Knapsack Project, making leather knapsacks of the type used by all school children in Japan in a variety of colors, using leather from animals in danger of extinction like alligator and hippopotamus.  Some of his earlier works in the 1990s conveyed strong political and social messages.  While Nakamura was studying in Korea, he and Murakami held a two-person show in Seoul.  Along with making art dealing with the codes contained in the urban environment and everyday commercial products, they worked ambitiously to improve the weak infrastructure of Japanese art.  Murakami, who had studied Japanese-style painting, explored the territory of Japanese popular culture, painting flat, two-dimensional images in the style of anime and fabricating three-dimensional figures with an otaku sensibility.  He also carried out collaborations with well-known companies like Louis Vitton.  Taking entertainment production companies as a model, he developed a strategy for expanding the art market and formed the Kaikai Kiki Company to promote his own art and that of artists associated with him.  He curated “Super-Flat,” an overseas touring exhibition that embodied his concept of art, affirming flat surfaces and eliminating the inner dimension.  He also organized “Geisai,” an art fair aimed at the huge audience of the Japanese Comike (comic market) that played a useful role in discovering new artists.
  Murakami’s radical ideas and energetic efforts to circumvent established art institutions were highly controversial, and the “Neo-Popo” generation that he represented attracted a great deal of attention for the way they crossed the boundaries between art and illustrations, comics, and animation.  Using a group workshop system recalling Andy Warhol’s “factory,” Murakami created a fantasy world expressed with precise forms in painting and sculpture.  He supported young artists and trained them with his own unique methods.  His achievement in creating opportunities for the creative activity of young women was especially noteworthy. 
Yoshitomo Nara lived and studied art in Germany for twelve years, beginning in the late 1980s, and participated in exhibitions there.  When he returned to Japan, Japanese popular culture, including J-Pop and the “Japanimation” of Hayao Miyazaki, was enjoying increased popularity around the world.  In contrast to Murakami, Nara stuck with a single theme, the world of children.  He worked in a simple manner, drawing and painting by hand on canvas and employing subtle areas of light and dark in his imagery.  His subject was the complex psychology of introverted children, and it appealed to young people who formed the audience for manga and anime.
   Masato Nakamura also attempted to reconstruct the art infrastructure and change the thinking of the audience.  He published his own writing, organized post-museum, guerilla-style events on the street such as “Ginbura Art” and “Shinjuku Youth Art,” and made art with familiar representations of globalism such as the advertising signs of convenience stores and McDonald’s.  In 1998, he organized the alternative art group Command N, carrying out renovation projects on country inns, and opened “Arts Chiyoda 3331,” a base for wide-ranging art activities, in a refurbished junior high school building in Tokyo in the spring of 2010.
   Shinro Otake, a famous artist in the “New Painting” movement of the 1980s, moved to Utajima Island in Ehime prefecture in 1988.  He created installations with boat parts found in a shipyard, all sorts of commercial products, and accumulations of junk, producing very Japanese scenes life filled with the vitality of everyday life.  In the autumn of 2009, he created an unconventional art bath-house, Sento I Love You on Naoshima Island in Kagawa prefecture, an unconventional art bath-house, Sento I Love You, with the support of graf design group and the sponsorship of the Fukutake Art Museum Foundation, which is related to the Bennesse Corporation, a company specializing in educational issues.  Otake’s friend, the magazine editor Kyoichi Tsuzuki, came to share his interest in making art in outlying regions away from the major cities and discovered unusual aspects of Japan.  Tsuzuki began by taking photographs of ordinary room interiors in Tokyo, which he published in TOKYO STYLE (1993).  Then he discovered the kitsch “erotic grotesque nonsense” in erotica museums known as Hihokan (literally, secret treasure house) found along highways all over Japan.  He reinterpreted these places as sites of post-system art in ROADSIDE JAPAN (1996).  Both Tsuzuki and Otake paid attention to things that lay behind the well-managed, clean, and orderly façade of Japanese cities, and sought a different reality in the unfashionable clutter and ordinary ugliness of rural Japan.

  1. Photographers and Women Artists

For many years, Japan lacked a proper infrastructure for the support of contemporary art, and this was also true of photography.  In 1974, Shomei Tomatsu, Eiko Hosoe, Daido Moriyama, and Nobuyoshi Araki, now all famous photographers, established the Workshop Photography School because there were few places available for the study of photographic technique and expression.  This school stayed in operation for only two years, but several months after it was closed, Moriyama continued to offer instruction in the Daido School, part of a photography shop called CAMP that he opened with several friends in Shinjuku.  In 1987, he founded Photo Daido, a workshop and exhibition space for himself and others, which he operated until 1992.  The Zeit Photo Gallery, which dealt exclusively in photography, opened in Tokyo in 1978, and Taka Ishii Gallery, a contemporary art gallery handling the photographs of Araki and Moriyama, opened in 1992.1
Nobuyoshi Araki placed great value on private life and turned away from the goal of objective documentation in photography.  His work is invasive and direct in its examination of sexuality.  Because of Araki’s unusual approach, he is able to shed an unexpected light on the essential nature of photography as an art form and the systems surrounding the human gaze.  The efforts of these pioneers influenced many younger photographers, and the quality of photographic expression in Japan continued to grow.  Ryuji Miyamoto participated in Documenta 11 with a documentary of the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Naoya Hatakeyama explores invisible urban structures of the city, such as underground water systems.  Hiroshi Sugimoto has become internationally famous for his tranquil Seascapes, high-quality monochrome views of the sea.  Risaku Suzuki engages with a spiritual world in views of his native region of Kumano, snow, and cherry blossoms.  Taiji Matsue has moved from black and white aerial photos of the ground surface to sharply focused bird’s-eye views of the city in color.  Toshio Shibata, Takashi Honma, and Masafumi Sanai should also be mentioned.  Noritoshi Hirakawa, a resident of New York, makes penetrating photographs that deal with sexual taboos and other aspects of the social system.  He is also known for his performances and installations.
When the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea was first held in 1995, it marked the beginning of a new age of international exhibitions.  In Japan, the International Art Exhibition of Japan has been held every year since 1952 under the joint sponsorship of the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper and the Japan International Art Promotion Society.  The Tenth Tokyo Biennale was organized on the theme “Between Man and Matter” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in 1970 with Yusuke Nakahara as general commissioner.  The last show was in 1990.  Another example of a progressive international exhibition, although just a one-time affair, was “Atopic Site” at Tokyo Big Site in 1996.  A large balloon figure with a penis by Sheree Rose was censored during the exhibition, and there was also a conflict between an artist-in-residence and local people in Okinawa.  Artist Kenjiro Okazaki, an artist, participated as one of curators, which was unusual at the time. “Atopic Site” was an exploration of “deterritorialization / decentralization,” making the interactive generative power of society and art, the site of an exhibition treating themes of urban life, information, and environment.  Kenjiro Okazaki made abstract paintings and sculptures, but in 1994 he became involved in Haizuka Earthwork, a project on the site of an abandoned dam in Hiroshima designed to revive a community through art.  He also produced Sunflower Stage (2000), a gathering place for outdoor events.
The Basic Law for a Gender-Equal Society was established in 1999, promoting greater equality of opportunities for women.  Some observers felt that the gender education accompanying the law was excessive, leading to a backlash that lasted for a while.  Feminist art historians like Midori Wakakuwa and Kaori Chino presented a rereading of traditional Japanese art history.  Women curators like Michiko Kasahara and Reiko Kokatsu searched out unrecognized women artists and organized ground-breaking exhibitions that raised gender-related issues, and many women artists appeared who were remarkable for their high level of awareness as well as their artistic ability.2
Mako Idemitsu makes video art revealing the many forms of invisible violence inflicted on housewives and women artists in a patriarchal society.  Yoshiko Shimada has collaborated with performer and video artist BuBu de la Madeleine to give a voice to sex workers and female members of the National Self-Defence Forces.  Hiroko Okada depicted a man’s experience of pregnancy with a comical touch.  Nameko Shinsan, a famous cartoonist, satirizes celebrity culture.  Rei Naito makes installations like the space inside a woman’s brain or womb with a delicate sensibility.  Women photographers are also doing impressive work.  Miyako Ishiuchi attracted attention at the Venice Biennale for her photographs of wounded bodies and objects left after her mother’s death.  Rika Noguchi creates landscape photographs with an enormous sense of distance. Yurie Nagashima explores the possibilities of family and portrait photography.  Rinko Kawauchi makes small ordinary objects into lucid poetry.  Mika Ninagawa creates a marvelous, kaleidoscopic world of color in her photographs and has recently turned her hand to movies.  Tomoko Yoneda, based in London, produces an intersection of memory and historical records with a conceptual approach.  Yuki Onodera, who lives in Paris, shows an original point of view in her Portraits de fripes (Portraits of Old Clothes).  Kunie Sugiura, a New York resident, creates sensitive photograms with flowers and leaves.  Hanayo, who is living in Berlin and had a child there, takes photographs of her daughter like the ordinary, everyday snapshots most people put in a photo album.
There are many Japanese women artists based overseas.  Chiharu Shiota, who lives and works in Berlin, interprets culture as clothing and does performances and installations treating conditions like death and madness at the limits of human survival.  Mariko Mori is active in both New York and Tokyo, exploring memories and remains of the  ancient times with new technology and materials.  Emiko Kasahara, who is based in New York, asks questions about the multiple meanings of gender and its transcendence.  Yayoi Deki, living in Italy, carefully weaves small stories into her paintings.  In the unattached position of outsiders, women artists are able to invade the mainstream art discourse dominated by men.

  1. Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe: Contemporary Art from Kansai

The Kansai region is a separate cultural area from Tokyo, where most political power and media outlets are concentrated.  Following the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, a number of artist initiatives took concrete form.  Tomoko Sugiura, an artist who tells personal stories in large-scale installations, took the lead, organizing C. A. P. with Noboru Tsubaki and Yukio Fujimoto and working to establish sites for fresh encounters with art in Kobe.  Noboru Tsubaki formed a duo with Hisashi Muroi in the Yokohama Triennale 2001 to make a huge balloon called Insect World: Grasshopper.  He plans mega-ventures that ignore the market value of art.  Yukio Fujimoto is a leading sound artist who creates sounds and sensory perceptions with delicate motions.  His art created with everyday objects produces quiet and poetic melodies, inviting listeners to reexamine the nature of memory. 
Dumb Type is a Kyoto-based performance group that dispassionately presents the life of contemporary people alienated from machine civilization.  An important work was S/N, a penetrating examination of the issues of AIDS and homosexuality, first performed in 1994, causing a sensation.  The leader of the group, Teiji Furuhashi, died of AIDS in 1995.  Afterward, Dumb Type moved in the direction of sound and media installations, exemplified by OR with images by Shiro Takatani and music by Ryoji Ikeda.  Tadasu Takamine, a member of Dumb Type during the Furuhashi period, continued to explore the interface between art and life, working with people having physical or linguistic handicaps and creating edgy video and installation works on political or sexual themes.  A major work, God Bless America (2002), depicts the ambiguous relationship between Japan and the United States with a light touch.
Yasumasa Morimura’s critical viewpoint was expressed in free transformations of gender, inserting his male, Japanese face and body into representations of famous Western paintings and taking on the guise of famous actresses.  His work had a stimulating effect on women artists.  Miwa Yanagi, who represented Japan at the Venice Biennale of 2008, showed photographs that made elevator girls into simulacra or signs of the seduction and oppression of a consumer society.  In My Grandmothers, young women played the roles that they imagined for themselves in old age.  By constructing these allegories of mental states of young women, she explored the trauma of imagination imprinted on the body and the possibilities of liberation.  Tomoko Sawada creates portrait photographs of the type used in arranging marriages and group photographs that are made up entirely of images of herself.  Minako Nishiyama is developing an ambiguous sociology of art, entailing ambiguous expressions of cuteness, enveloped in the color pink, as well as erotic images.  Hiroko Ichihara’s dynamic word art takes the form of messages printed on paper bags and graffiti.  It incisively raises subtle issues of love, revealing unconscious motivations.

  1. Gift Economies and Workshop Art

An all-male group of artists born in 1965 organized the Showa 40-Nen Kai (Group 1965), perhaps in resistance to the women’s power exploding in Kansai or out of respect for the “24-Year Flower Group” of women cartoonists born in 1949 (Showa 24 is 1949).  The members were Makoto Aida, Sumihisa Arima, Oscar Oiwa, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Masamichi Tosa (previous “president” of the artists’ group Maywa Denki), Parco Kinoshita, and Hiroyuki Matsukage.  They were a third generation of postwar Japanese artists, 2 to 6 years younger than Takashi Murakami, Masato Nakamura, and Yoshitomo Nara.  Each of the members approaches society and history in different ways and from different positions, but they share a nonchalant attitude, a fondness for nonsense, and a critical attitude toward modernity.
Eiji Otsuka, known for his analysis of the otaku subculture and the discoverer of cartoonist Kyoko Okazaki, has discussed historical topics such as the United Red Army radicals and the Emperor in relation to women in Their United Red Army, examining the meaning of postwar democracy in contemporary Japan.  The cover of this book is adorned by a Makoto Aida painting, The Beautiful Flag (War Painting Returns), by Makoto Aida.  In this picture, a young girl with bobbed hair wearing a sailor-style school uniform carries a big Japanese flag on a pole and another young girl with long hair in a chima chogori, the traditional Korean women’s costume, raises her fist.  Aida has a brilliant technique which he uses with a relentless, self-negating dynamism, subverting the virtuous ideals and ethics of rational modernity and attempting to transcend the space-time regulated by economics like some sort of Don Quixote.
Akira Yamaguchi, a younger student from the same school as Aida and an excellent draftsman in his own right, had his art-world debut in the “Kotatsu-School” exhibition organized by Aida.  He exploits the traditional compositional style of Yamato-e, mixing meticulously rendered contemporary and traditional motifs and creating humorous parody pictures, which often criticize war.  Rather than a return to tradition, however, Yamaguchi’s paintings express what social thinker Marshall Berman calls the maelstrom of modernity.
Tabaimo, a woman artist inspired by ukiyo-e, also participates in the tendency to criticize modernity by reconstructing tradition.  Her first important work was a moving-image installation, Japanese Kitchen (1999), constructed with animation techniques in the colors of Hokusai.  Employing the sounds of Japanese instruments and voices to stimulate the senses, it is a penetrating and surreal criticism of contemporary society in the style of the Edo period.
Tsuyoshi Ozawa painted images from the history of Japanese art with soy sauce in the absurdly humorous Museum of Soy Sauce Art (1999), creating an exotic parody that adds the gaze of the common people flavors to art history.  His Tonchiki House at the Yokohama Triennale 2001 and Nasubi (Eggplant) Gallery (1993- ), a gallery in a milk-box, provided sites for the creativity of others.  Sodan Art Café, in which he adjusted the work on display in response to viewer opinions, was an example of art that changes through a relationship between the artist and other people. 
Musician Makoto Nomura began to compose music in collaboration with children while studying in England, and he did joint performances of unfinished compositions with other people at schools and homes for the elderly.  Michihiro Shimabuku, a friend of Nomura’s, caught an octopus in Akashi and took it on a tour of Tokyo.  Then he took an octopus from Akashi across the country to the Japan Sea, where he let it go.  He also searched for a deer by automobile in a place where there were no deer.  He continued to make art through the process of traveling and talking to people during his travels like a wandering minstrel.
According to the English scholar, Richard Barbrook, gift economies have existed since ancient times but are reemerging in the Internet society.  The trend toward collaboration and community based on service to others in contemporary art might be seen as an example of the gift economy in the art world.  Sites are being constructed in which art can function as a local currency of communication, including words and acts of participation, through symbolic exchanges and gifts between the maker and user.  This concept of art, which flourished in Japan and other Asian countries in the latter half of the 1990s, is different from the one based on currency exchanges in the capitalist art market.  A movement toward interactive exchanges and symbiosis is seen in volunteer activities related to art.  Another example is the workshops carried out in art museums or rural areas that are moving beyond simple art education and starting to produce what might be called workshop art, artworks that can only be made in cooperation with others.
Hiroshi Fuji’s Kaekko is a workshop project in which children bring unwanted stuffed animals and trade them.  It has been carried out over a thousand times in Japan and other countries.  Katsuhiko Hibino began planting morning glories in his Asatte Asagao Project at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and has continued planting morning glory seeds ever since.  These works have been put into the collection of the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Art.  Tatsuo Miyajima began planting shoots from a persimmon tree that survived the atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki in his “Revive Time” Kaki Tree Project in the latter half of the 1990s.  There are other examples of social network creation in art that might be described in terms of a gift economy, such as the homeless project of Tomoko Take, who lives in the Netherlands, and Orimoto Tatsumi’s artworks involving the care of his elderly mother and communication workshops with senior citizens.  As ventures of this kind proliferate, art communities are being created in many different corners of the world.  They will become the source of alternative art activities in the twenty-first century, suggesting ways of changing society and the world from different points of view.  We can look forward to a borderless future where more people help each other. 
(Translated by Stan Anderson)


  1. There is also a photographers’ gallery, jointly operated by photographers, and The Third Gallery Aya, which is devoted to photography, in Osaka.
  2. Aomi Okabe, Ato to josei to eizo gurokaru uman (Art and Women and Image: Glocal Woman), Saikisha, 2003.  In this book, I touch on the current situation of video installations around the world.  It includes recorded interviews with Yoshiko Shimada, Tabaimo, Mariko Mori, and Miwa Yanagi,  I also introduced the work of Chiharu Shiota, Naomi Seki, Tomoko Take, and Naoko Majima, in the exhibition, “Women’s Landscapes, Roaring World,” which I curated at the L’Institut Franco-Japonais de Tokyo.





  1. 日本の現代美術状況とアーティスト―場の奪還と提供           


今では嘘のようだが、欧米で初めて日本の20世紀の先駆的な美術の流れが体系的に紹介されたのは80年代の半ばに過ぎない。最近は世界各国の大規模な国際展に招聘されて華々しく活躍するアーティストが増え、村上隆を初め海外のオークションで高額で取引される作家も登場し、その変化は驚異的といわざるをえない。パリのポンピドゥー・センターで『前衛芸術の日本 1910-70』展が開催されたのは1986年、その企画にたずさわりながら、当時のまだ閉鎖的な日本の状況を見つめていた私にとってはなおさら感慨深いものがある。
80年代のニューペインティングの洗礼を受けた大竹伸朗は、1988年から愛媛県宇多島で制作をはじめ、造船所の廃物、雑多な日用品やガラクタの堆積を塔や商店として提示し、日常の生命感あふれた日本の風景を現出させた。2009年秋には香川県の直島で、教育関係企業ベネッセコーポレーションに関連する福武美術館財団が支援し、デザインと設計をgrafが応援して奇抜なアートの湯「銭湯 アイラブユー」を完成させた。首都から離れて地方で活動する大竹の脱中心の視点は、彼の友人で、編集者でもある都築響一が日本を発見する過程で共有したものだ。都築は東京の普通の室内情景を『TOKYO STYLE』(93)で写真に撮り、『ROADSIDE JAPAN 珍日本紀行』(96)では、エログロナンセンスのキッチュな「秘宝館」を蘇らせ、脱制度的なアートの場として読み替えた。都築も大竹も、管理され清掃され記号と化した大都市の裏側に目を向け、地方に残された、かっこ悪い猥雑さや美しくもない凡庸さのなかに、リアリティを探し求めたといってもいい。

長年、現代芸術を支えるインフラが乏しかった日本の社会で、写真の分野も例外ではなかった。東松照明、細江英公、森山大道、荒木経惟ら、今では写真の大御所たちが、1974年にワークショップ写真学校を開校したのは、撮影技術や写真表現を学べる学校が非常に少なかったからだ。森山は2年間しか続かなかったこの学校が解散した数ヶ月後、数人の仲間と新宿にイメージショップ「CAMP」を開設、ここで「大道塾」を行った。1987年からは「PHOTO DAIDO」を設け、自他ともに作品を展示できるスペース兼仕事場として92年まで運営した。写真を専門的に扱うツァイト・フォト・サロンが開廊したのは1978年、荒木や森山の写真を扱う現代アート画廊、タカ・イシイ・ギャラリーは1992年にオープンした(1)。

3.京都・大阪・神戸 関西の現代美術
東京という権力とマスコミが集中する場を離れた関西圏では、1995年の阪神淡路大震災を経て、アーティスト・イニシャティヴの実践がより明確なかたちで具体化した。私的な物語を大型インスタレーションとして実現する作家、杉山知子が核となり、椿昇や藤本由起夫などとともにC.A.P.を立ち上げ、神戸でアートとの新たな出会いの場を作る活動を実践している。椿昇は「横浜トリエンナーレ2001」で室井尚氏とユニットを組み、『インセクト・ワールド 飛蝗(ばった)』の巨大バルーンを制作、美術の市場価値を無視するメガロなベンチャー構想に夢を託す。また「音」や「知覚」を繊細な指先で紡ぎだす藤本由起夫はサウンド・アーティストの第一人者で、身近な物体に寡黙で詩的な旋律を奏でさせ、記憶の再考へと誘っている。
ダムタイプは機械文明に疎外された現代人をクールに表現した京都のパフォーマンス・グループだが、リーダーの古橋悌二がエイズで亡くなる以前、1994年にエイズとホモセクシャリティの問題を真摯に問いかける『S/N』を発表、大きな反響を呼んだ。その後、映像を高谷史郎、音楽を池田亮司が担当した『OR』の公演を契機に、音響メディアインスタレーションの方向へと展開するが、古橋の時代にダムタイプに参加した経験をもつ高嶺格は、人の生き方と重なるアートの方向を探求し続け、身体や言語に障害をもつ人々との協働を模索し、政治や性のテーマで鋭利な侵犯性を放つ映像やインスタレーションを手がけている。日本と米国のあいまいな関係を軽妙に描いた代表作クレイ・アニメの『God Bless America』(2002 年)がある。


  1. 東京には写真家が共同運営するphotographers’ galleryがあり、大阪には写真専門のザ・サード・ギャラリー・アヤなどがある。
  2. 拙著『アートと女性と映像グローカル・ウーマン』(2003年、彩樹社)に、映像インスタレーションとのかかわりで、世界に広がるこうした現状について触れ、嶋田美子、束芋、森万里子、やなぎみわのインタヴューを収録し、同年に開催した「おんなのけしき 世界のとどろき」展(東京日仏学院、岡部あおみ企画)では、塩田千春、関直美、武智子、真島直子らの仕事を紹介した。