| EN |

Love Love Show
Written by Tomohiro MASUDA   
Published: March 01 2010

fig. 1 Kyoko Okazaki x Ryusuke Ito "Diorama boy, Panorama girl" (2009); a view from the exhibition, courtesy of AOMORI MUSEUM OF ART

    Over the last ten years words such as heterogeneity, hybrid and cross discipline have often been included in titles of exhibitions. Presently it is not unusual to enjoy looking at artworks of varying fields, including art, design, high culture or subculture, in the same exhibition. This exhibition, entitled “Love Love Show” co-hosted by Aomori Museum of Art and Towada Art Center, was also such a kind of show that was held under the theme of collaboration - “encounter” - among artists from heterogeneous genres. For example, the first exhibition room in the Aomori Museum of Art provided us with an opportunity to view both Risaku Suzuki’s photo which seemed to be a painting and Hirotaka Tohyama’s painting which looked like a photograph. In other rooms, we could enjoy an installation created by the artist Yuki Okumura. In this creation, we heard the singing voice of the musician Keiichi Sokabe, with the sound of a guitar coming from a clay pipe extending from the ground under the exhibition room. The film creator, Ryusuke Ito, cited the world-view and motifs used in magazine stories written by Kyoko Okazaki to build up his own creative world, which could be considered a homage to Okazaki [fig. 1]. On the other hand, in the Towada Art Center, there was an exhibit made by the stereoscopic work artist, KIMURA. He converted oddly-shaped creatures and robots drawn by the cartoonist, Robin Nishi, into tangible forms and named them “BAKA-KIKAI”. The artist Sayaka Akiyama created a large embroidery work in which she depicted a map showing her history using a large cloth. It was displayed next to Hatsusaburo Yoshida’s tourist map created in the Taisho period and the early Showa era using a birds-eye view method. Displaying different genres of exhibits made in varying periods using various kinds of techniques in the same space is one of the so-called common practices in the postmodern age. In addition, this can be deemed as one of methods to attract a great number of customers by involving all kinds of people regardless of what they are interested in, be it art, design, literature or music. (In fact, a bartender whom I encountered at a pub told me that he had visited this exhibition with the aim of enjoying Keiichi Sokabe’s concert.)

fig. 2 Tiger TATEISHI x Taizo MATSUMURA (2009); a view from exhibition, courtesy of AOMORI MUSEUM OF ART

    Despite this, what this exhibition, held across different areas of expression, aimed to realize was not something in which curators showed viewers current fashions - cross-disciplinary trends - of modern art or allowed viewers to experience such trends. I suspect also that the exhibition may not have been held with the aim of attracting people by showing exhibits from various kinds of genres in the same venue. Rather, this “Love Love Show” was held focusing squarely on “encounters” or relationships among artists, or those between viewers and exhibits, or between visitors and others. For instance, at the entrance of the museum viewers could get a sign saying, “Let’s become friends”. A visitor having this sign was considered to be sending other viewers a message “Say something to me”. In this way, the sign allowed us to consider the venues, in which we are usually prohibited from even making a sound, as “places in which to meet with others”. (Unfortunately, I was unable to find anyone else with this sign during my two hours spent at the museums.) There were also two complimentary shuttle services per day to be used to travel to and from the two museums. This trip took approximately two hours by bus. Passengers were passed seals when they got on the bus and asked to paste them on the wall of the museum when they arrived as evidence of having bridged the distance between the two venues. It may be no exaggeration to say that the act of the passengers/viewers stiking their seals on the walls represents their having travelled between the two museums, as well as having contributed to coloring the exhibition. Namely, they were active participants in the display of the show. Considering the various current issues in the field of art, including the limitation of planned exhibitions held in a single venue and the difficulty in attracting customers to museums, it was a significantly interesting attempt that the exhibition was not held as a tour exhibition but co-hosted at - “made encounter” - the two museums having different characteristics – a “kenbi” (prefectural museum) and a “genbi” (modern art museum), respectively. (It is still fresh in my mind that “Hidetoshi Nagasawa Exhibition” was co-hosted at The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Kawagoe City Art Museum and the Toyama Memorial Museum of Art last year.)
    Incidentally, how can we interpret this exhibiton’s attempt to try and make the two museums meeting places for the viewers? I felt curators’ sense of crisis against the fact that people (indifferently!) posed the institutional problem of museums - not “What can we view at museums?” but “What can we do at museums?” - was reflected on the approach of the exhibition. The curator in charge of this exhibition, Takeshi Kudo, commented in the exhibition brochure as follows:

“Think flexibly about the form [of the exhibition] without being bound by “common sense” or “limitations” as much as possible. Then an answer the question “What is an exhibition?” would paradoxically emerge and consequently the possibility of the exhibition itself would become stronger.” *1

    A self-watching characteristic of “Love Love Show” that considers the form of the exhibition itself seems to have followed features of the exhibitions, “Western-style painting at the Meiji Era” (The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, 2 Aug, 2008 – 23 Sept, 2008) and “Contemporary art is just easy as pie.” (Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito, 29 Aug, 2009 – 12 Oct, 2009). The former was held with the aim of reviewing the act of “looking at” artworks and the role of museums institutionalized to be used as places to view creations by considering the history of viewing methods in modern Japan through symbols depicted in paintings of the Meiji era. In the latter, viewers were asked to solve a mystery of a fictitious incident (said to have happened during the setup of the exhibition) while looking at exhibits and films newly created for the exhibition. This made visitors imaginarily involved inside of the museum. Although there was a big difference in the features of the exhibitions between the former and the latter - academic and event-oriented -, they had one thing in common in that they were held with an awareness of institutions, such as museums and exhibitions.

    It would seem to be preaching to the choir if you answer questions mindlessly posed by people, such as “What can we do at museums?” and “What is art?” by saying, “The current trend of modern art in Japan is…”. In Japan today, there is a common assumption that taxpayers’ money should not spent on intangiable things, including “gendai-bijutsu” (modern art), or trivial matters, such as “bijutsu” (art), in the current economic downturn in Japan today that both central government and local communities are experiencing. Over the last year “shiwake” (the public screening of government projects) has gathered a lot of media attention in Japan. There is no time to lose. If any business project has a hint of scandal or lack of ability to attract customers, it promptly becomes a target of “shiwake”. As I have commented above, most exhibitions in recent years seem to have a self-regulating characteristic. This may reflect the present situation in which questions, including “What can we do at museums?” or “For what do museums exist?”, are raised in a serious manner.
    What both “kenbi” and “genbi” tried to do in responce to such question was a change of perception. In other words, they focused on the question, namely not “What do ‘museums’ show us?” but “What can ‘we’ do at museums?”. This represents a new kind of attempt to change the roles of museums from places where we value and passively receive latest western culture or avant-garde art to places those where we encounter other people and artworks, fall in love with them and can be actively engaged with other people. Needless to say, the “solution” presented by Aomori Museum of Art and Towada Art Center cannot be considered by everyone as the sole correct answer. In addition, it is also unclear whether it will achieve a successful outcome or not. The “solution” must change complying to the demands of the times and viewers. It also varies due to the individual characteristics and specific circumstances concerning each museum. Despite this, it is clear that the “solution” led by the two museums represents a royal road to realize schemes of museums and exhibitions, rather than a significant deviation from such frameworks. This is due to the fact that, originally described as “amazing rooms” and “spectacles”, exhibitions were considered places where viewers would encounter unfamiliar things or culture, and sometimes “fall in love” with these exhibits because of their attraction. In addition, getting to know others means the same thing as “encountering” ourselves. The “Love Love Show” seemed to positively and clearly indicate this given the continual and gloomy situation in the art industry.
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

The Exhibition brochure of “Love Love Show”, Love Love Show Executive Committee, 2009, p.6
The words included in [ ] were newly added by the author of this article.

Related Exhibition
Love Love Show
12/Dec/2009 - 14/Feb/2010
Last Updated on July 04 2010

Related Articles

| EN |