Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial

Tokyo isn’t the only place to experience contemporary art in Japan. Currently Niigata is hosting a land art triennial that moves far beyond the white cube – utilizing former elementary schools, community centers, old homes and outdoor spaces as new sites for creative work.

In Photo Reports by James Jack 2009-08-10

Urara Chigira’s 'Living Things' installed at Geidai’s Elementary School in Naka-Senda made a contemplative display of local flora and fauna.

Erika Masuya gathered windsocks from the local community and experimented over and over until she got them to fly in the sky!

Koji Yamamoto and his students investigate the ancient Greek theory of phlogiston by combusting various objects such as this…..Apple!While everyone was on their way to the top of the hill to see Turrell’s 'Light House' we stopped just below to see Ritsuko Taho’s 'Green Villa'. It is one of the more poignant remnants from the 2003 Triennial that consists of large prehistoric characters sculpted into a large field.

In its second year running the Fukutake House displays some clever ways to work with the elementary school vibe.

Satoshi Ohno fulfills every child’s dream by spilling his work out all over the gymnasium.

Masahito Koshinaka takes the motif of flowers into a new world in this installation titled 'double word #28'.

Also at the Fukutake House, butterflies, butterflies and more butterflies by Eiji Watanabe.

An old community center near Tokamachi that was due to be demolished turned into the impressive but fake 'Anbori Yubun Memorial Museum' by Yoshikuni Kimura.

Each object is meticulously labeled with an explanation of how it was used according to a pseudo-historical narrative that is actually based on logic.

When you enter Antony Gormley’s meticulously renovated house project the strings take you for a different kind of flight.

But the real joy of the exhibit is getting lost on the small winding roads between the artworks and enjoying the beauty of small things!

The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2009 runs until September 13. Visit the English homepage for more information on tickets and access.

James Jack

James Jack. Grown in the rocky soil of New York City James Jack was transplanted to Tokyo via a Hawaiian orchid. He is currently a Crown Prince Akihito Scholar at Tokyo University of the Arts researching contemporary art. Jack comes to writing as an artist who regularly shows drawings, photo-based work and installations. His work has appeared in magazines such as Asian Art News, NY Arts, Kyoto Journal: Perspectives on Asia, and M: The New York Art World. www.jamesjack.org » See other writings

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