Real Lear in Echigo-Tsumari

Photo Arnold Gröschel


About the artwork

“Real Lear in Echigo-Tsumari” was performed to celebrate the start of the Triennial and the opening of the Matsudai Snow-Land Agrarian Culture Center. All ten performers were elderly local people. The Dutch artist Christiaan Bastiaans stayed in Echigo-Tsumari for for months and interviewed aged people with the help of local inhabitants and other volunteers. He wove Shakespeare’s tragedy “King Lear” and the personal histories of the old performers together into “Real Lea”, which brings a quiet touch to the history and climate of a region that has been collapsing as Japan modernizes, and the lives of the local people who have lived through this process.
Produced by the Kohebi-tai members in cooperation with local textile workers, the cloth sculptures appeared floating in the air against a background of terraced rice paddies, as if the spirits of the performers were floating above the stage. The artist Nan Hoover, inspired by the Echigo-Tsumari mountains, created light sculptures to accompany the performance. As a joint project between Echigo-Tsumari and the Netherlands, “Real Lear” was made possible by the full support of Dutch institutions and provided the local elderly with an opportunity to confirm their joy and pride in a living in Echito-Tsumari.

Written and Staged by: Christiaan Bastiaans
Light Sculpture: Nan Hoover,
Organized by: “Real Lear in Echigo-Tsumari” Executive Committee
Co-organized by: Matsudai Town
Assisted by: Mondriaan Foundation, Fund BKVB, The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Japan Foundation for Regional Arts-Activities
In cooperation with: The Neherlands Media Art Institute


Artwork no. D071
Production year 2003
Area Matsudai
Village Matsudai
Stay In Touch

Stay connected with the ETAT official social media to receive the latest news and event information, and the many seasonal faces of Echigo-Tsumari as well as new issue of the ETAT official media, “Art from the Land”.