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Echigo-Tsumari Art Field - Official Web Magazine

Feature / Director's Column

This and that about ETAT 2022 ④(Written on 3 May)

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

05 May 2022

The long-waited eighth iteration of ETAT has finally been launched. I was impressed by the opening remarks by the chairperson, Mr Sekiguchi Yoshifumi, Mayor of Tokamachi-city which was polite and compelling. He was working in the income section at the City Council when the first festival was run and had already taken his children and visited artworks. His wife has been active as a local supporter since the fourth iteration of the festival. He must have a profound appreciation of the artworks. Since he became the Mayor in 2009, he has made no request about artworks to the General Director. While the organisation and execution of the festival have been reviewed from time to time, he has made significant achievements and contributions to the relations building with the Cultural Agency and other ministries; the development of cooperation with The Japan Business Federation through “Chiiki Kyoso Action Program”; building a solid reputation in China and Taiwan; and engaging official supporters. He has built a robust foundation for the festival to the current iteration and I do hope we can continue our conversation to set the direction of the ninth festival. I feel deeply grateful for his leadership together with Mr Fukutake Soichiro who has been supporting the festival both psychologically and financially since the third festival.

Sekiguchi Yoshifumi, Mayor of Tokamachi-city, Chairperson of ETAT Executive Committee

I would like to express my gratitude to Clélia Zernik from Beaux-Arts de Paris who kindly responded to our sudden request for a speech at the opening ceremony. She arrived on the previous day to prepare for the “ETAT 2000-2022 Memorial Series – Artists in spirits in Echigo-Tsumari” featuring Jean-Luc Vilmouth whom she once worked as a colleague. She came to Echigo-Tsumari to see the exhibition with a daughter of Vilmouth.

This “ETAT 2000-2022 Memorial Series – Artists in spirits in Echigo-Tsumari” will consist of twelve exhibitions over the next six months by featuring a single artist for two weeks, each had participated in ETAT but passed away recently. 

Vilmouth created “Café Reflet” in 2003 in Matsudai Nohbutai, by asking local people in every village in the former Matsudai area to take photographs of the four seasons and transformed these photos into lighting on the ceiling. He had excellent communication with the local people and engagement of the locals was high in this project. Since then he was willing to participate in the collaborative performance between Tokyo University of the Arts and Beaux-Arts de Paris. He was a Japanophile, having visited Japan more than 100 times. His work has changed from “Comme deux tours, Châtellerault”, a site-specific work with objects in centre that I was impressed by, to something that treasures communication. He was a very ETAT-like magnificent artist.

“ETAT 2000-2022 Memorial Series – Artists in spirits in Echigo-Tsumari” featuring Jean-Luc Vilmouth: from 29 Apr – 9 May 

photo by Nakamura Osamu

The second series of the exhibition will show Honma Keiko from Niigata followed by Funakoshi Naoki, Jimmie Durham, Fujiwara Yoshiko, Nakamura Kei, Takano Fumiaki, Furugori Hiroshi, Christian Boltanski, Tomiyama Taeko, Hossein Valamanesh, and Bruno Mathon. While there is a limit to small-scale exhibitions, I hope you will visit these exhibitions and appreciate each artist’s ideas and thoughts behind their works. There are special guided tours and while we couldn’t include them in this series, I want to organise something to highlight the achievements by Ikeda Osamu of BankART1929 who passed away on 16 March 2022 as well as Maita Masafumi and Awazu Kiyoshi.
Talking about the opening ceremony again, Makigami Koichi, a musician, performed mouth harp (also responding to our sudden request) before and after the opening declaration by Ms Kuwahara, Mayor of Tsunan Town. It sounded like a fanfare – no doubt he is the world-leading mouth harpist! It made the whole experience spectacular and human. I feel very grateful.

Clélia Zernik (Beaux-Arts de Paris, France photo by Nakamura Osamu

Magnificent mouth harp performance by Makigami Koichi

Photo by Nakamura Osamu

Mrs Kuwabara Haruka, Mayor of Tsunan-town, Vice-chairperson of ETAT Executive Committee

Ishimatsu Takeyoshi, on the other hand, ran the workshop on the same day as the opening ceremony in Tanokura village in the Matsudai area. Ishimatsu renovates the abandoned house by himself, lives in the house, creates working space, and runs a workshop. His project is his artwork and is called ≪Tanokura D.I.Y House Iju≫. I dropped in on the previous day and Watanabe Masayuki who moved from Tokyo and now does farming gave me mountain vegetables including udo, kotoni, fukumoto, and koshiabura and they were all delicious.

Ishimatsu told me then that Motoyama Kiyofumi will give a talk at the exhibition of his older brother , Motoyama Toichiro, in Nagoya on 7 May. I would be unavailable to attend the talk as I would run a guided tour in Setouchi Triennale on that day. I felt that my body was pushed upward. I haven’t been able to see them recently but I have known them since the Gaudí exhibition in Kyoto in 1980. They were heading with friends from Nagoya in the midnight of the opening of the first ETAT. I still remember like yesterday – worrying about them driving through narrow roads of Echigo-Tsumari in darkness. I wish Motoyama-san’s health and hope some of you could attend the talk event in Nagoya.


Kitagawa Fram


"Looking at drawings - composition and matiere of works by Motoyama Toichiro

Duration|12:15-18:00 from Fri 6 to Wed 11 May 2022
Venue|Art & Design Cenre at Nagoya University of the Arts (west campus)
Organiser|Nagoya University of the Arts, Arts and Liberal Arts Division
Co-organiser|Nagoya University of the Arts
※ A related project with the subject “visual literacy” in the subject of Arts and Liberal Arts Division

<Gallery Talk>
Motoyama Kiyofumi, specially appointed professor, Arts and Liberal Arts Division, Nagoya University of the Arts
3:00-15:00 on Sat 7 May
Art & Design Cenre at Nagoya University of the Arts (west campus)

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