Thursday, August 6th, 2009
The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial opened last week across the rural landscape of Niigata prefecture in central Japan, approximately two hours from Tokyo. The fourth edition of the festival, which began ten years ago, brings together more than 350 works of art, scattered over 470+ miles of communities, rice fields, vacant houses and closed schools. While most of the participating artists are native to Japan, many other nations are represented, spanning Asia, Europe, North and South America, Africa and Australia. In addition to the hundreds of artworks, several special events and performances are scheduled throughout the run of the festival, and as the Guardian’s Danielle Demetriou notes, the world’s largest outdoor art festival has played an important role in revitalizing an otherwise isolated, depopulated region.
The festival runs through September 13. Visitor and travel information can be found here.
Read on for a selection of ETAT installations, including works by Antony Gormley, Cai Guo Qiang, Christian Boltanski＋Jean Kalma, and Stasys + Kolodziejski.
#23 Antony Gormley (United Kingdom) Another Singularity – With its walls gone, the frame of the house is laid bare. Trajectories are formed by string woven to radiate inside the pillars and beams of the building. If you look hard, you will see the outline of a human body. This piece is unique in expressing the origins of the universe. (Image: Tord Lund © the artist)
#94-1 Cai Guo-Qiang (China/USA) Dragon Museum of Contemporary Art – The climbing kiln created by Cai Guo-Qiang, the director and curator, relocated from China’s Fujin province and reassembled here, becomes a ground-breaking space that makes one rethink the very idea of a contemporary art gallery. In the past, this gallery has housed exhibits by Kiki Smith, Koutarou Miyanaga. This year, the gallery will display works by Jennifer Wayne Ma. Giving the impression of entering a different dimension, mirrors are placed at along the long and narrow passage. As the visitors are led up the stairs, they are confronted by themselves, reflected in the mirrors. (Image: S.Anzai)
#203 Stasys & Kolodziejski /Witaszewski (A+D) (Poland) - The Visitors – This unit is based on the work of Stasys’ Eidrigevicius. 60 posters have been attached to a mast approximately 14 metres long. This installation makes you think a giant shipwreck has occurred somewhere deep in the Tsumari countryside.
#234 Christian Boltanski＋Jean Kalman (France) - The Last Class - The artists have made a permanent installation of his 2006 work “The absence of human beings” which fills an entire closed down school. This time, Boltanski’s archive will be added. In addition, the heartbeats of visitors will be recorded as part of Boltanski’s global project in conjunction with the Setouchi International Art Festival to be held next year. (Image: H. Kuratani)
All Images and installation descriptions via ETAT, additional credit where noted.