The Mixed Bathing World, Beppu International Art Triennialfills a gap in the artistic community by offering a new or alternative platform for the dissemination of artistic practices. Largely imitated independently by artists, it brings art activities out of the museum. In merging artistic practices into everyday life, and by working closely with the communities where the projects takes place, Beppu Projects activities encompass an International Art Festival, Registration type Events for Local Cultural Activities, Artist in Residence, Partnerships with Cultural Institutions Worldwide, Artist Village Plan, Permanent installations in Public Spaces, Transmitting Local Information, Producing Local Goods and Making New Schemes to Join Art and Local Economy.
As assistant director of the inaugural triennial in 2009, Keith Whittle helped deliver this major city-wide contemporary art exhibition and programme of community-engaged projects and nine large-scale, newly commissioned and complex public art projects by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists; Adel Abdessemed, Michael Lin, Hossein Golba, Lani Maestro, Sarkis, Jin-me Yoon, Yinling of JOYTOY and Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries. The role involved negotiating with international galleries and working closely with artist and producer. Overseeing projects working directly with the triennials Artistic Director, volunteers, and as part the festival team in all aspects of the successful delivery and marketing of the triennial programme working with Beppu Project NPO.
In EXIT, Adel Abdessemed (2009) Abdessemed takes language as its object. It affects a simple change of letter in the lighted signs widely used to indicate a way out: exit becomes exil (“exile” in French). It plays on the sign’s status of symbol, creating another word/image whose slight difference from the original triggers surprise. The resulting work is placed at the entrance of an exhibition venue, where it marks a line to be crossed. The word “exile” alludes to the artist himself, forced to leave Algeria in 1994, while the association with “exit” signs also evokes the act of crossing borders, a liberating act central to Abdessemed’s art.
The other work exhibited as part of the festival include Usine, Adel Abdessemed (2009); Beppu 04.11-06.14.09, Michael Lin (2009); Roshandel, light of heart homage to all the blind people), Roshandel, light of heart; homage to Kazuya Ito and Peshawar-kai), Saifukuji Temple, Hossein Golba (2009); Higugma (Breath), Lani Maestro (2009); Colors in the water, SARKIS (2009); As It Is Becoming, Jin-me Yoon (2009); Angel, Yinling of JOYTOY (2009) and HONEYMOON IN BEPPU, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (2009).
Special thanks to Takashi Serizawa, P3 art and environment, Jun’ya Yamaide, CEO Beppu Project the commissioned artists and the Beppu project team.