Every three years hundreds of square miles of countryside in north western Japan are transformed into a sprawling and many-faceted art installation. More than 150 of the world’s most-celebrated landscape artists, sculptors, and architects display their work in a couple of hundred villages, fields and rice paddies. It’s a liaison between art, people and nature and has become quite an event over the past 15 years.
This book presents these new and striking art spaces in Japan. The works are not, for the most part, displayed indoors, in galleries and museums. These artworks are punctuating the countryside with contemporary anachronism and thought-provoking three-dimensional statements. They are free to view and are attracting half a million visitors each year, although most of those who come to enjoy the festival are still Japanese. The book has 300 or so pages with 46 mostly short pieces by Fram Kitagawa, over 230 colour photographs, and two more essays by contributors Adrian Favell and Lynne Breslin.
This art extravaganza started in 2000 and held its sixth instalment last year. It was founded by and is still directed by Fram Kitagawa. It has now become highly valued in Japan. The book is a companion to the exhibition, introduced in both words and photographs. It teases with its sometimes whimsical images, while the text is casual and conversational. One concludes that all these disparate and yet expressive works actually represent one immense art form, which is the exhibition in its entirety. It’s a philosophy, a dream, an interactive challenge which has engaged the local population, artists and viewers.
Art Place Japan: The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and the Vision to Reconnect Art and Nature
Author: Fram Kitagawa
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Art book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018