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Feature / Director's Column

This and that about ETAT 2022 ②(Written on 25 April)

Kitagawa Fram (Editor-in-chef of “Art from the Land” / General Director, ETAT)

Through this series of column, Kitagawa Fram, General Director of the festival shares "this and that about ETAT" which runs from 29 April for 145 days.

Text by Kitagawa Fram

28 April 2022

We organised a joint presentation of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2022 and Setouchi Triennale 2022 at 8/ in Hikarie, Shibuya on 25 April. Setouchi had already launched on 14 April whereas ETAT was about to start on 29 April. The two leading art festivals attracted many audiences and 50 seats were taken instantly with 250 people engaged online.
We were pleased to have leading artists including [mé], Nawa Kohei, and Alexander Ponomarev (translator Kono Wakana) for the presentations. It was an exciting two hours of talks by the three artists, feeling the expectations and attention of the audience throughout.
[mé] talked about their work created in 2016 in Shodoshima Island, the town of a labyrinth. The work which outside of the abandoned house folding in and over inside the house was inspired by how ants would expand their space in any direction, up, down, right, and left. They then talked about “movements”, the work for ETAT2022. It was driven by their curiosity about the flight of starlings in flocks and how the physiology of each individual bird in the flock is related – which lead to this work showing how the second hands of 8,000 clocks create a swarm.
The talk made me interested in their future projects including how[mé]creates their works.

Joint PR event of Setouchi Triennale and Echigo-Tsumari Triennale 2022 on 25 April at Hikarie, Shibuya

“movements” by mé  (2021) photo by Kioku Keizo

In my opinion, Nawa Kohei is the most orthodox sculpture. He considers the status, components, and molecular structure of materials and cultivated the potential of contemporary sculpture. His unparalleled work presented at MonET shows the character of black silicon oil while revealing the relation between gravity and attraction. The way oil drops onto the surface of the pool of oil on the floor is particularly beautiful.
He also talked about his work “Biota (Fauna/Flora)” in Inujima in 2013. He mentioned he tried to create an artwork that resembles divisions of microbial cells and explosive growth by using beams and columns of the demolished abandoned house.
He then talked about the collaborative work with Damien Jalet called “VESSEL” in 2016. It was driven by his curiosity about the human body changing into something moving other than human beings. It was a mysterious piece as seven dancers integrated and changed their form without showing their heads.

I am very interested in how he evolves in the coming years.

“movements” by mé  (2021) photo by Kioku Keizo

“Force” by Nawa Kohei (2021) photo by Kioku Keizo

Lastly, we had Alexander Ponomarev from Russia connected online. We had Kono Wakana, who originally introduced him to us, as a translator. He talked about his work presented at Kominato Railway Goi Kikan Area for Ichihara Art Mix in 2021 represented a road or evolution of human beings and “SUB TIZIANO” for Venice Biennale 2009 was a transformation of the submarine into art. He also talked about Antarctica Biennale in 2017 which was organised with 77 artists, researchers, and journalists from thirteen countries. They were all on one ship, landed at respective places in Antarctica, presented their works, and ran their performances, but left no marks as they completed the festival. He mentioned it was done in a place beyond borders that belonged to nobody which was brought for exhibition in NUNAGAWA Campus in Echigo-Tsumari. In this current harsh and despairing time, the restrained talk by the artist seemed to have reached many people’s hearts.

As Minamigawa Kenji from[mé]mentioned, both ETAT and Setouchi Art Triennale are organised following the idea that we must continue activities like “art” that are related to everyday life, precisely because we are going through this challenging time. Artworks for both festivals are magnificent and we will run the festivals so that anyone who visits will have a good time. Please do come – with the Passport, and don’t forget to taste local delicacies and exclusive goods.

Kitagawa Fram

Installation view, Inujima “Art House Project” F-Art House, Okayama, Japn
Biota (Fauna / Flora), 2013, dimensions variable, mixed media, Collection of Benesse Holdings, Inc.

VESSEL kyoto, 2016, ROHM Theater Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan ©︎ Damien JALET | Kohei Nawa

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