Recent research 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.
In Japan alone during the past decade and a half, there has been a boom in what is commonly referred to as ‘Chiiki Art (local art)’ or ‘Art Projects’ in various areas of Japan, often as a tool of town or city regeneration. These projects are happening outside of the museum and are being led by the communities where the projects take place. This phenomenon has increasingly come to occupy an important position in Japan’s contemporary art scene and has created an opportunity to review the relationship between art and those who are involved in it. It examines issues related to the projects, exploring amongst other questions, if these Art Projects and international exhibitions can expand and democratise access to culture, for a diversified public; creating a meaningful cultural social space for the general public and tourist majority generally less directly engaged with Art? I am also developing further research networks 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 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 into Japanese art 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 investigation of the structure and characteristics of Japan’s culture is no longer 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. Future research will actively investigate 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.
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.