I met and interviewed Masato Nakamura yesterday, general director at 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo. Not our first occasion to meet, the other being back in 2009 when I was invited to look at the soon to be renovated Rensei Junior High School – his organisation had recently been awarded the right to convert and manage the building by the Chiyoda Ward.
A contemporary and former friend and collaborator of Murakami, and creator of landmark exhibitions such as ‘Conbini’ (TRAUMATRAUMA) and McDonalds installations of the late 90s, Masato Nakamura represented Japan at the Japanese National Pavillion, Venice 2001, a high-accolade indeed. However, on returning to Tokyo, Nakamura turned his back on the global art market and international art scene focusing instead on Command N, an organisation he established involved in urban-interventions and one he is quoted as saying ‘tries to make art and make meaning between the “cracks” of the city, between the walls of the packed buildings, or small personal space between its hurried residents’. Formally based in an unused building near Jimbocho and running in parallel to your “Sustainable Art” Group in the 2000s, it fostered a new kind of art that broke away from commercial concerns of many of your generation.
Whilst receiving high international acclaim as an artist for work such as “QSC+mV” which deals with signs latent in urban spaces, he also rigorously questioned the role of “society” and “education” while continuing to initiate projects in a number of localities which were an attempt to create new frameworks. After exhibitions “The Ginburart” in 1993 and “Shinjuku Shonen Art”, he began guerrila-style art activities based in urban centers, which led to in 1998 him founding Artist Initiative Command N in Akihabara, which went on to organize a number of exhibitions and inviting guests to join “powwow,”an ongoing talk session.
In 1999, relations with the areas surrounding Akihabara were deepened through the international television installation “Akihabara TV” which hijacked the electric town of Akihabara, and after initiating the projects “YUSHIMA MOMIJI” and “KANDADA”, in 2010 founded the privately-run 3331 Arts Chiyoda which is where we began.
3331 Arts Chiyoda aims to pioneer new approaches to artistic production and exhibition, engaging with the complexities of the urban situation, developing environments, creating new possibilities and values, working within a local context towards inner-city revitalization. Deeply interested in the creation of new relationships and dialogues with local communities through the realisation of art projects – communication and communion with the local communities can be seen as a central motivation – 3331 Arts Chiyoda activities encompass numerous activities working both within and outside of its building Domestic and International exhibitions, Registration type Events for Local Cultural Activities, Artist in Residence, Partnerships with Cultural Institutions Worldwide, Artist Village Plan, installations in Public Spaces, Transmitting Local Information and Making New Schemes to Join Art and Local Economy.