Research as a Japan Foundation Fellow and fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, has focused on the proliferation of large-scale international recurrent exhibitions of contemporary art; objectives, practices, and considerations, from curatorial and artistic strategies to political, social and economic agendas. It examines issues related to biennials and triennials, exploring amongst other questions, if such international exhibitions can expand and democratise access to culture, for a diversified public; creating a meaningful cultural social space for both artist and public.
Specific research on large-scale international recurrent exhibitions of contemporary art in Japan, ‘Chiiki Art (local art)’ or ‘Art Projects’ develops out of a concern with the criticality of the contemporary artwork, its economies and the co-existence of multiple centres of interpretation, production and reception. Opening dialogues with the public ‘Chiiki Art (local art)’ or ‘Art Projects’ are site-specific and bridge art, community and architectural and urban/rural regeneration initiatives. This prompts a fundamental shift from the relatively “metaphysical” nature of land art and injecting important doses of sociological and cultural, even political issues. In the meantime, as part of the increasingly multi-culturised scene of global art, they are informed by the contributions of artists working at a (g)local level, beyond the traditional international centres. Research has identified the significance of ‘Art Projects’ a phenomenon that has increasingly come to occupy an important position in Japan’s contemporary art scene, that, it constitutes a significant genre, in post-war Japanese art, one though still be to fully recognised internationally.
I am also developing further research on contemporary Asian art and developing academic links institutions in South East Asia. In recent decades, contemporary East Asian visual culture has become increasingly prominent on the international stage. While for example there has been a long-standing interest in contemporary Japanese visual culture as part of debates on the significance of modernism and postmodernism. Most existing research has focused on the aesthetic, cultural and political intentions and processes that shape its production. What interests me just as much is how art is actually received by the public, and the material landscape (urban or rural) within which that reception occurs. Also examining artworks from the perspective of their everyday use and the interactions they foster.
Research has been steadily expanding in its reach. My ongoing investigation of the structure and characteristics of Japan’s culture is not confined to Japan’s territorial extent but is acquiring a broader, comparative perspective that takes into account Japan in a global or regional (Asian) context. Research actively investigates the process of historical change in Japanese culture and interaction with other cultures – carried out in a multifaceted perspective through international collaboration and cooperation. Research activities aim for a study of Japanese art; first from an interdisciplinary, multifaceted perspective, and second in an international and comparative context. It will encourage the integrated study of Japanese art by promoting diverse team research projects (with the participation of international and Japanese scholars from a range of disciplines) and holding symposiums, seminars, and lectures in Japan and UK.
Specific research interests encompass Contemporary Japanese art since the 1960s, contemporary exhibitions of Japanese art; Japanese artists in the international diaspora, performance art and the body in art; strategies and politics of curating ‘Japanese’ art; twentieth-century Japan and modernity; Visual culture in Japan and spectatorship, transnational art and post-March 11 artistic activity; Criticism and curating in the Japanese art world.
There is a real lack of considered studies and research reviews addressing a number of underpinning issues to contemporary Japanese art. Research informs and stimulate new debates and provide some early outputs from the research; inform future discussions about the current shape, focus and priorities of Japanese art; and be of value to researchers, academics and the wider international art community. The overall approach can be described as qualitative, descriptive and comparative – a collating of information, and a critical overview of the knowledge. I hope that new perspectives can be opened up on shared outlooks and differences within contemporary Japanese and British visual culture as well as on the impact of that culture within local and international settings.
This is sustained, through events online discussion, practice-led collaboration such as exchange residencies, talks, seminars, publication and online documentation.